Since ancient man first gingerly rubbed a pair of sticks together and created fire, human beings have worked tirelessly to master the elements. The culmination of which is inarguably, the particle accelerator a device designed to harness, capture and control the very building blocks of our universe. A science quest that was aided, in part, by a shit-caked ferret called Felicia.
First though for anyone unfamiliar with what a particle accelerator is, thankfully device is very aptly named and it essentially does exactly what it’s name suggests. Mainly hurling the building blocks of reality at each other at a quantifiable percentage of the speed of light, largely just to see what happens.
As you might expect given that it’s primary purpose is to reach out and slap God himself across the face with a dick made of science, particle accelerators are built to highly exacting standards and aren’t really designed to be taken apart. For example, the Fermilabs Tevatron we’re talking about today clocks in at around 4 miles long.
Which while admittedly is very impressive and giving us a bit of a chub right now, poses a bit of a problem. Specifically, how do you clean a 4 mile long pipe only a few inches across that is absolutely fucking stuffed with literally billions of dollars worth of bleeding edge technology? The answer? At least initially, was ferret.
Called Felicia, the ferret pictured above is directly credited with helping Fermilabs’ big-ass particle accelerator function optimally, being tasked with scurrying through the device with a small string tied about her slender waist so that a large brush could be pulled through afterwards to clean away any science dust. Additionally Felicia was equipped with a specially made ferret diaper so she didn’t, you know, shit everywhere.
Now you might be thinking, surely there was a solution that didn’t involve shoving 3 pounds of fuzzy noodle cat into a 4 mile long pipe, right? Well there was but researchers working at Fermilab still settled on using a ferret and some string because every other solution cost several hundred thousand dollars. Felicia on the other hand? $35 and whatever else it costs to house and feed a living pipe cleaner. Also, she was adorable.
So whatever happened to this trailblazing woman of science we hear you ask? Well according to Fermilabs themselves, they eventually discovered that they didn’t really need Felicia to find blockages and the like so retired her. In recognition of her earlier contributions to science though, she received, we shit you not, a pension and lived out her retirement as a mascot for the entire project.
Fuck yeah, Felicia. Get it girl.