By Tushna Commissariat
“Dodging the physicists of the world is no easy task! You need all your wits about you, and the steady hand of a secret agent to stay out of sight.”
If that sentence has left you wondering who or what is hiding from physicists, apart from the so-called elusive Higgs boson, you have hit the particle on the head! In a bid to keep the Higgs even further from physicists’ clutches, physics educator turned science-related games designer Andy Hall has developed a game for iOS devices known as “Agent Higgs”.
“The whole world is after the elusive Higgs particle. Accelerators the size of cities are being used to create truly awesome concentrations of energy in a vast number of collisions. We’ve detected all the other particles of the Standard Model. Muons, quarks, neutrinos, the whole gambit. But not the Higgs. How is it avoiding detection?” asks the tantalizing game description. Well, apparently it’s thanks to the help of gamers the world over.
In the game, you are encouraged to help the Higgs hide from nosy particle detectors, by hiding “him” behind a slew of the other known subatomic particles such as electrons, neutrinos and muons. Hall, who set up TestTubeGames in 2011 in an attempt to make complex scientific topics fun and interesting, is hoping that Agent Higgs will introduce people to particle physics in a fun way.
According to Hall, “The rules of the game are based on the fundamental forces. Use the weak force to get particles moving, or to make them decay. Use the electromagnetic force to make particles attract or repel. The physics introduced in this game even extends to matter–antimatter annihilation and neutrino oscillation.”
The game has more than 100 levels that slowly and steadily introduce particle-physics laws that gamers can use to block the Higgs from the detector’s view. Hall says that he designed the game to be challenging yet engaging.
The game has been released worldwide through the iTunes Store and is priced at $0.99 in the US. You can download the game from the iTunes Store here.