Are you smarter than a particle physicist?

arXiv is a website where papers in physics and mathematics are published before they've gone through the formal peer-review process. snarXiv is a parody site where people submit fauxphysics papers full of comical jargon. Now, you can test your physics knowledge in a fun game that combines the two. Can you tell which title belongs to a real research paper and which one is a joke? As it turns out, I am utterly terrible at this.


  1. I *am* a particle physicist, and together with a postdoc and our boss (a researcher of 20+ years), we were collectively at about 50%.

  2. So “Possible Approaches to the Mu Problem” is fake? That’s a bit misleading as the “Mu Problem” is a real thing, or is the joke that the title is too simple to possibly be a real paper?

  3. “Are you smarter than a particle physicist”.

    Yes. Yes, I am. I just don’t feel I have to prove it.

  4. Damn, I was 100% at finding the real articles (0 for 6, perfect negative correlation) and then I blew it by getting one right. 

    And while I’m *not* a particle physicist, I did complete a minor in nuclear and radiation chemistry in grad school so it’s not like I don’t know one end of a nucleus from the other.

  5. I am a physicist by education, though not an academic researcher, and I got less  than half right.   I think I would have done a lot better if they had to make a snarky abstract, too, though.

  6. Though I am no longer in the field, I did experimental high energy particle physics for a decade (yay, SSC shutdown!), and still read arXiv to keep my hand in (well, look at the new submissions most mornings).  13 of 25.

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