It’s late October, which means that the thoughts of small children and adults who have never quite grown up turn to selecting appropriate costumes for Halloween. In the spirit of these literary suggestions and these abstract concept suggestions, I thought it would be useful to offer some suggestions for physics-themed costumes, for those who want to dress as something from the greatest science.
Of course, there are some really obvious choices for physics-themed costumes (Einstein: rumpled clothes, white hair, distracted manner, German accent; Feynman: black pants, white shirt, brushed-back hair, bongo drums. Both of these are accentuated by shamelessly hitting on every woman at the party.), but here are a few ideas for costumes that might not be so obvious, to add a physics flavor to your Halloween party:
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: As soon as you arrive, hide in a secluded place and remain perfectly still. If anybody sees you, run really fast in a random direction.
The Pauli Exclusion Principle (Requires two people): Dress in identical outfits, and refuse to be in the same room with one another. If circumstances force you to be close together, one of you must stand on your head.
Schrödinger’s Cat: Wear an ordinary cat costume, but when you get to the party, go hide in a closet. When somebody opens the door to check on you, flip a coin, and if it comes up heads, pretend to be dead.
The Higgs Boson: Stand in a narrow hallway, and impede the motion of anybody who tries to get past you.
Isaac Newton, Alchemist: Wear a long silver wig, and babble to people about the transmutation of elements and the nature of God. For the Method-actor version of this, drink a bunch of mercury a week before the party, and then just be yourself.
P. A. M. Dirac: Dark suit, thin mustache. Don’t say anything.