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ballet and the hadron accelerator

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A funny thing happened today in the studio where I work.Our resident teacher, choreographer and artistic director, the extraordinary Deirdre Tarrant in one sentence managed to compress dance instruction and reference to both the great New Zealand physicist and the vast particle accelerator near Geneva which has heavily featured in international media recently.This utterance I believe is the verbal equivalent of a mathematical equation possessing both economy and elegance.

Instructing her dancers in the spatial relationships she wished them to inscribe (during a character dance from Belarus) she said

"Remember Rutherford and the magnets!"

What a triumph of concatenation.In this briefest of utterance she paid tribute to the great New Zealand

physicist who laid the foundations of nuclear science.Not only this but also made reference to the great apparatus in question.I bow the knee to this most exceptional of remarks.I doubt if ever in the history of ballet such a feat has occured.Did the students get it???? I know I did!

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I am both fascinated and confused by your post here.

As it happens, I am a trained physicist (altho it has not been my career). Although it is fascinating to me that such a statement would be made in a ballet class, I am puzzled by it. I am unaware of any significant connection btwn Rutherford and magnets. Surely Rutherford did use magnets in his research, but the use of magnetic force was not a major aspect of his work. (Probably his best known contribution was the firing of alpha particles at a thin sheet of gold foil where he measured the scattering pattern of the particles which in turn led him to devise the well known model of the atom as a cloud of electrons surrounding a much smaller but hugely denser nucleus.) OTOH, strong magnets and the use of magnetic forces is fundamental to the operation of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in Geneva which you mention.

Beyond this, I remain curious as to what your teacher meant by the comment: "Remember Rutherford and the magnets!". Perhaps I'm too dense, but I don't get the connection to dance. Please enlighten :D.

P.S. Just for the record.....as you say, Rutherford was a New Zealander and was educated there, but he did most of his work, and spent most of his life, in England and Canada.

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To answer the questions, I am a pianist.My father had degrees in mathematics and physics and I seem to have inherited his love of both.I recall my father factorising number plates on motor vehicles.Numbers seemed to be his friend.For instance 13 squared = 169. 31 squared =961.The transpositions are nice. Our teacher is a woman of high intelligence and given to somewhat cryptic remarks on occasion. Rarely do her observations border on the mysterious but this remark came so far out of left field it took me a few minutes to fully appreciate its depth.Possibly my imagination was heightened during the time.I was about halfway through the character variation when she uttered this.I thought it was rather elegant that the requested direction she wished her dancers to inscribe was an ellipse around the studio.I thought of the elliptical orbit the sub-atomic particles will soon take around the vast large hadron collider.I think her linking Rutherford with magnets was a highly imaginative remark but I doubt whether she really understood as Sean has pointed out the inconsistency between the two.Quite some years ago I began to explore the feasibilty of writing a paper on the physics of the ballet studio (Newtonian laws) but I didn't get too far.Someone told me that a Polish physicist did this about forty years ago.Perhaps I was interpreting too deeply implied meaning .

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