The big God particle mystery
While many of us only have the fuzziest grasp of what the discovery of Higgs boson means, we are pretty clear it’s a huge deal for physicists. Unlocking the secrets of the universe and all that. So there have been raised eyebrows that the data was presented in a slide show featuring Comic Sans as the typeface. I guess CERN boffins are wild and crazy guys, but not since Avatar’s blue smurfs were subtitled in Papyrus has there been a more dodgy choice of font.
On one hand, I quite like the offhand nature of this. On the other, it’s a missed opportunity to leave a tangible legacy for a huge breakthrough. A PowerPoint deck in a comedy typeface seems slightly insubstantial and lacking gravitas when set beside the Gutenberg Bible or a first edition of Origin of the Species. Perhaps the boffins are unconcerned with leaving a tangible legacy beyond the data. And given that the Internet is a mere by-product of the search for the Higgs boson, I guess they have the right to be cavalier. Prof Brian Cox seemed ok with the choice:
What’s kind of surprising is that after you spend billions on the Large Hadron Collider, you can’t stump up a few euros for a less amateurish presentation design team to frame the results. And given the focus on the precision required to validate the data (it’s 99% sure, but has to ultimately achieve a 99.99% rating to get ‘signed off’) why make the charts look sloppy?
I guess the God particle raises many philosophical questions bigger than ‘is presentation important, or is it all about content?’ – but as a designer, it’s a pertinent one. Anyway, this seems like an excuse to see Hitler bemoan the limitations of desktop publishing (warning, contains swearing subtitles)…