There’s more to do with a particle accelerator than find the Higgs Boson. Artist Todd Johnson uses electron beams to create amazing fractal artworks on acrylic slabs . He calls them “shockfossils”. Johnson described the process briefly on DeviantArt:
“These pieces are created with the help of a particle accelerator. This machine produces up to five million volts and is used to accelerate a beam of electrons. The electrons are fired at pieces of acrylic plastic and penetrate deep within the slabs, resulting in a pool of electrons trapped under tremendous electrical potential within each piece.
The trapped charge is then carefully released by applying mechanical shock with a sharp insulated tool, and the electrons escape with a bright flash and loud pop. As the charges leave the plastic, they gather into channels following fractal branching rules just like river deltas, plants, and capillaries.
Controlling the energy and placement of the electron beam determines the final shape and character of the resulting figure.”
More information on the process and lots more art here. It’s worth looking at the larger images for the amazing detail. (H/T to Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing)