Gluonic penguins dominate (?), phrase [Graffiti? First observed: colloq. on CP violation in HEP]
An informal poll (by poking) of the undergraduate research assistants attending the talk revealed that five of twenty were asleep. The material had accelerated from neutrons and protons to higher-order Feynman diagrams within two slides, leaving the students too dazed by whiplash to listen. Somewhere in a mess of acronyms, an otherwise incomprehensible figure was brightened by a small pictogram of a penguin.
I paused. Perhaps it was just decoration, an admission that the slide, with its bountiful equations and diagrams, could use a little brightening. But such an idea would not occur to the lecturer, one of that particular brand of physicist who could not imagine delight greater than that of equations. I tentatively raised a hand.
"Why is there a penguin-"
"That type of Feynman diagram is called a penguin." This, I found a little less than obvious.
"It doesn't look like a penguin."
And then the answer. I would propose a sarcastic rationale, but sometimes, truth exceeds all attempts at ridicule. A bar bet between a theorist and an experimentalist over a game of darts had the loser using a word of choice in a published article. The word? Penguin.
The newly-dubbed penguin diagram (in fact, any resemblance between this diagram and any actual penguins, living or dead, is purely coincidental) apparently became a great hit among high-energy physicists. And on the next slide, I saw in explosively large letters the phrase that was to become my mantra:
Gluonic penguins dominate
I don't know what it means, but I'm going to say it six times today anyway.