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So You've Been Hired to Work at the Sorcerous Supercollider

Congratulations! You are one of a select group of graduates chosen to plumb the deepest secrets of the magical force. You will be working with some of the top experimental researchers in modern magic, and we pride ourselves on offering a stimulating and creative professional environment. We expect that you'll enjoy yourself here. But this also isn't physics class at your sorcerers' school, and you need to keep both your safety and the universe's in mind at all times.
First, forget you ever heard the words "sorcery," "wizardry," or "witchcraft." Those are the rituals that people did before we learned what was behind it all. Yes, we call it the Sorcerous Supercollider, but that's because we need to use a term that politicians understand if we want the grant money to keep coming. What we really work with here is the Thauma Force--the field that all magicians draw from whether they know it or not. It's a modern discovery like the strong force and weak force, so it doesn't get to have a fancy name like "gravity," but you've still been using it since the first time you waved your wand.
Don't concern yourself too much with the atomic weight of phlebotinum either. You'll be dealing with things much more basic than atoms.
Your first assignment will most likely be to monitor the proton beams--it's tedious, yes, but necessary. You have no idea how necessary. We haven't actually found the gauge boson for the Thauma Force yet, but it's predicted to be big. That means high-energy beams, and the spells we use to accelerate the protons scale up very quickly. The last time someone's attention wandered, the beam escaped containment at 10^36 electron volts. Sure, that masses out to about a kilogram, but you try getting free when gluons the size of tennis balls are sticking you to the wall.
Watch out for charm quarks, especially when they get entirely too charming. Strange quarks too, though around here that's all of them.
We're not looking for the God particle here, or the Higgs boson either. We've theorized that there's a sixth force that lets gods do what they do, but every time we look for it, something smites us. We gave up after we had to rebuild the collider for the third time, and it's probably for the best, because a god force would blow hell out of the standard model.
We cannot, repeat cannot, accelerate particles faster than light. FTL spells are magic fiction, not magic fact. Ignore any variations in the particle beams that appear to code tomorrow's stock prices--that's for test purposes only, and is to be interpreted solely by senior researchers.
That prank you heard about--the one that involves using an aging spell to make senior researchers' protons decay--forget about it. The half-life of protons has been proven to be at least 10^34 years, and the strongest aging spells used in the lab barely touch one percent of that. And do you know how cranky a 10^32-year-old senior researcher can be?
Sorcerous monopoles are your friends if you're careful with them, but when you're using them to make proton beams with only one end, make sure that end is pointed away from you.
And finally, everything you've heard about the Supercollider destroying the universe is also unfounded rumor. Even if a magically enhanced Planck particle could swallow us all, and we're not saying this has happened, it decays in 10^-39 seconds, so the universe will be reconstituted before anyone notices.
So welcome to the Sorcerous Supercollider--we look forward to working with you. Please proceed to the next phase of your orientation. And if the world looks a bit different from the way it did a moment ago, that's just the feeling of being part of an elite team!
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
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