Schrödinger's Kitten

Irreverent Science for Everyone

Monday 05 October 2009

Which Subatomic Particle Are You?

  • quantum
  • silly
  • particle
  • quiz

We all know that the only way to understand our innermost nature better is not in fact psychotherapy, meditation or a bold and fearless examination of your innermost self, but to take many, many tests on The Internets in order to find out which noun we are. But usually, these tests lack scientific rigour. This personality quiz attempts to fill the gap by connecting you to an archetypal building block of the universe, which must be way more scientific and accurate than a Sex and the City character.

(Note: This quiz works with Firefox and Safari on both Windows and Mac, and probably Opera too tho we haven't actually checked it, but it doesn't work on Internet Explorer, cuz it's poo.1)

At a party, you:

  • Hang round with your two best friends. You will not stop chattering inanely amongst yourselves even if something (like a small fire) occurs to separate you; preferring to continue your conversation at increasingly high volume and high pitched tones, to the distress of everyone else
  • Breeze through the main room swiftly, ignoring everyone, before exiting through the bathroom window
  • Are unlikely to be invited, much less to go — you only go to A*-list parties, and there are none with sufficient energy for you on this godforsaken planet
  • Talk rubbish to people for what seems like ages from your perspective; nevertheless, they declare you 'highly penetrating'

Your favourite colour is:

  • An optical primary
  • Beige or grey
  • Some awkward colour like octarine or puce
  • Cerenkov blue

Your favourite activity is:

  • Staying in familiar surroundings with close friends
  • Extreme sports that involve going really really fast
  • Obsessively ranking everything according to some bizarre criteria of your own
  • Going to pieces in a very artistic way

Your appearance is:

  • Noone knows under those baggy clothes
  • So slight as to be generally unnoticable
  • You are a gigantic bloater who nevertheless insists on wearing camo gear
  • In a word: Cosmic


  • Probably, as part of the gradual process of losing your youth, energy, and fine figure. Unless you've already hit rock bottom, in which case there's nothing left in you to produce more suckers
  • Not likely — you just can't seem to touch anyone
  • As soon as possible, because you'll burn out fast. Doesn't matter what they're like, you'll only flicker in and out of their lives briefly to interfere before disappearing off into your own dimension again
  • Definitely! You'll raise little mini versions of yourself, just as svelte and excited .. only a bit more down-to-earth

Stranded on a desert island, you would need:

  • Company. Preferably up for a threesome
  • Nothing at all. What difference does it make where you are? It's all worthless. If you happened to have some dry-cleaning fluid though...
  • 6 billion dollars, freedom from international laws, and a team of genii pandering to your every whim
  • A massive silent type who you could live longer by sticking close to. There might be bears, or pigs, or a plane full of schoolboys

Describe your name:

  • I love it! It's literary, yet mysterious
  • It's a silly nickname which stops people taking me seriously
  • I get to choose between something ridiculously grandiose, and the name of a guy who might not have even been my father. Whoop
  • It's okay, I suppose. Bit unimaginative, but easy to wear


You have yet to answer any questions.


Quark Photo credit: EstoyCansado

Named by the famously curmudgeonly Murry Gell-Mann, derived from Joyce's modernist ramblings, you've overcome your bohemian beginning to become — how do I put this? — a joiner.

Never seen alone, you probably don't even realise that that can be considered a bad thing. You're damn well adjusted, stable, the building blocks of the world as we know it. Available in a natty selection of red, blue or green, you constantly exchange gluons with other quarks, keeping you all updated on each other's movements, binding you together in a sticky web of sociability. On the other hand, noone could call you exclusive: you'll couple to anything, including photons, leptons, and probably even the blubberball Higgs.


Neutrino Photo credit: ojbyrne

You were rudely brought into existence by Wolfgang Pauli to keep conservation of energy working. The 'Little Neutral Thing' as he jokingly named you, was finally discovered bathing in a giant tanker of dry-cleaning fluid, and joined the ranks of the sub-atomic family. Despite your major contributions to the Standard Model of Particle Physics, you've always felt you didn't get the respect you deserved, and so have nursed a grudge for almost fifty years. Rather standoffish, noone knows your real nature. This isn't helped by your Multiple Personality Disorder, which causes you to oscillate between generations of your self-constructed family. You only couple with left-handers.

You're pretty messed up, I have to say.



Abstruse, obese and highly sought-after, your millionaire lifestyle is envied by others. Many people even define their own existence based on catching news of you. Every newspaper in the world is eagerly following your appearance schedule, and yet you still manage to avoid being caught on camera. It's impressive, I grant you.

Some call you god and speculate that you're crucial to the smooth running of the universe. Me, I think that's a slight exaggeration and it's only feeding your superiority complex. After all, you're only hypothetical, and there are other particle models which don't need you as a fixer. You're not irreplaceable. But I'd still like to meet you sometime.


Muon Photo credit: SimonSmith001

From a middle class family, with a sensible, short name, you've made a career out of being an outsider — too light to be a hadron, too bent to be an electron.

Adopting a rock star lifestyle once you got the momentum to leave the unfashionable galactic suburbs where you grew up, you believe in living fast and dying young. The only reason we witness you at all is your relativistic effects pedals and a giant marketing machine passing on your hype quicker than you can travel yourself. You're particularly popular among particle physicists, who have photos of you all over their walls.

Hate to be the one to tell you this, but your two-piece ('muonium'? gotta love that modesty) is pretty generic. Sounds a lot like traditional lightweight duos.

1. I wholeheartedly believe IE is poo due to ineptitude on the part of the creators and not malice in any way, which is why they don't want to sue me.

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