April 20, 2000 - Vancouver, BC

TRIUMF scientists isolate “idion”

VANCOUVER - Scientists at TRIUMF, Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics, have announced a breakthrough in both nuclear and political science.

"We've done what the best minds in the social and physical sciences have been unable to do for generations," said Dr. Devon Linkletter, who holds UBC's chair in Advanced Social Democratic Particle Research.

"By placing Michael Walker and Buzz Hargrove in the cyclotron, accelerating them to near-light speeds and then colliding them, we were able to identify, isolate and capture the fundamental particle of ideology: the idion."

Dr. Linkletter called the idion "the basic building block of ideology, in the same way that the quark is the basic building block of matter."

One of the largest surprises for the scientists working on the project was the large number of attributes possible for an idion.

"An idion may be charged 'left' or 'right', 'green' or 'brown', 'svend' or 'conrad', 'martinuk' or 'thobani' -- the list is remarkably long," Dr. Linkletter said.

"Thank goodness the project took place at UBC," he added. "Every idion in this province is so highly polarized that isolating them was a snap."

Although practical applications of the discovery are currently limited, Dr. Linkletter said he could see a day when political candidates could be quickly scanned and their ideological positioning monitored automatically.

He dismissed suggestions that a practical experiment is already in place in Vancouver, using high-energy radio waves to bombard unsuspecting residents with 'right'-charged idions.

"CKNW was around long before we came onto the scene," he said.