Editor’s note: This spoof was published as part of the 2019 Halloween issue of our newsletter Fermilab Today. Enjoy!
The four laws of thermodynamics have been foundational to physics for over a century. Fermilab’s newest research program, NECRONOMICON (Navigating Esoteric Cryptic Research ON Occult Mysterious Ideas Concerning Ominous Numinousness), has overturned one of these pillars by diving into the occult.
The group’s first project was to tackle the Maxwell’s demon and the second law of thermodynamics.
“People have treated Maxwell’s demon as a simple thought experiment and gotten bogged down in arguing about how information and entropy relate to each other,” said Dr. Faust, the physicist who conceived of the project. “We were so distracted by ideas of supersymmetry that we forgot to explore the supernatural.”
In Faust’s experiment, researchers produced pentaquarks, particles composed of five quarks. Most of the time quarks come as a set, stuck either as a pair or group of three particles. For example, both protons and neutrons are each composed of three quarks. Faust’s team tested whether combining pentaquarks with five hours of a graduate student chanting could summon the demon with its power to sort particles based on their energy.
“In hindsight, it was obvious that a pentaquark was required to summon Maxwell’s demon,” Faust said. “The pentaradial symmetry is not enough on its own but has to be of an appropriate scale to channel the occult power.”
After summoning the demon, the experiment successfully cooled a cryostat from 350 kelvins to 200 kelvins without the use of cryogenic fluids or any input of power. A corresponding chamber was heated, and the researchers hope to modify the heated chamber in the future so that it generates power.
“This goes against everything I was taught as an undergrad,” said Igor, the graduate student who spent hours chanting. “I am so glad I got to be part of this team. We also believe that further analysis of our results will finally answer the question of how many demons can dance on the head of a pin, and by corollary how many angels. That is, of course, assuming that angels dance.”
The researchers hope further experiments will prove that Maxwell’s demon is an excitation of the Asphodel field and to find other excitations, such as the hypothesized Laplace’s demon. This goes beyond a novel demonstration and has the potential to enable radical advancement of science and technology.
“We are sure that the next run of the experiment will demonstrate the practical use of this technology for cryogenic systems,” Faust said. “I am confident this will be a convenient way to make He-II freeze over.”