You would think waterskiing requires a powerboat and a long stretch of open water. Not so when you’re in South Carolina. All you need is a mudhole and some heavy hydraulic machinery.
It is tempting to label this activity the most redneck of all, but a quick glance at the history of particle accelerators suggests that the waterskiers photographed are closer to rocket scientists than hicks.
Classic waterskiing may be compared to a linear accelerator, the longest of which is the 2-mile SLAC, operated by Stanford University. SLAC can accelerate particles up to 50 gigaelectronvolts.
Not too shabby, but the largest circular accelerator in the world, the 17-mile long Large Hadron Collider, can boost protons to 7 teraelectronvolts: 140 times that of SLAC, with the added benefit of a smaller footprint for the facility. Although small is not necessarily the word that first comes to mind when you think of a giant tunnel 17 miles in circumference, buried 600 feet below the border of France and Switzerland.