Not-So-Dumbed-Down Britain?

Here’s something to cheer us all up and ammunition to use against those “it’s all going to hell in a handcart” merchants. 

What was in at number 6 in this year’s Google Zeitgeist list of fastest rising search terms* for the UK? 

I reckon anyone who lives here should feel proud of the fact that it was :

“Large Hadron Collider”

Sure, it was below Facebook and YouTube, but I could only spot one other country where the LHC also appeared in their fastest rising list – “Hi” to all those physics-obsessed Kiwis out there. Can’t just be Belinda, back home now in New Zealand, who keeps forgetting to bookmark it. However, I’ve previously admitted my language capability is pathetic, so if anyone can translate the other country lists and point out other scientifically literate nations, let me know and I’ll happily celebrate them too.

Of course, it may just be our anti-science doom-laden popular media, convincing the whole country that we were about to disappear into a black hole, but I’m a “glass half full” kind of person. At least it got people talking about serious science for a day or so. Who knows, maybe it will have inspired a few more kids to see the point of studying science, once they realised that the LHC wasn’t going to destroy them (a concern raised in classrooms round the country, though more along the lines of “What’s the point of doing this homework, Sir? We’ll all be gone tomorrow”).

In the meantime, I wonder what’s happening at the LHC now?


Thanks to for the above – be sure to check out the mouseover text in the cartoons on their site (you know, hover your mouse over the image and see what text pops up for a few seconds).


* This means the most popular searches conducted for 11 months of 2008 (Google compile their list by early December) and ranked based on how much their frequency increased compared to 2007.