Hands down, my favorite holiday of the year is Halloween. Yes, I still have to work, but you get to dress up in costumes (sometimes even at work!) and eat obscene amounts of candy, so really, it's not much of a contest.
Over the years, though, I've come to realize how science-related Halloween can really be. After all, beyond the ghouls and goblins of our darkest dreams, there are the techno-spawn horrors of our dystopian future nightmares, many of which have roots in science gone awry. After all, Michael Crichton made a whole career out of science going awry and resulting in a lot of running away from scary things!
The beginning of it all is, of course, the mad scientist. This is the classic science-themed costume and if you want some tips on how to create a mad scientist costume, we've totally got you covered there. Scroll to the bottom of that page and you'll even see some links to costumes for "mad scientist sidekicks," so you can have a whole crew of science-gone-wrong buddies! If you want to be really bold, of course, you can go for the neon orange lab coat, like my buddy Doktor Kaboom!
And, of course, every mad scientist needs a lair ... um, that is, a lab. And, even better, you can make the lab be haunted. Yes, a haunted science lab. Why not? (And no, "Because ghosts don't exist" is not an adequate response. It's Halloween, after all.) To really pull off a haunted science lab, you will need to be prepared to get your (gloved) hands on some dry ice.
Of course, let's say you want to completely avoid the "spooky" elements but are still looking for something ... well, you're still in luck. Physicist and bestselling author Chad Orzel has put together a list of conceptual physics costumes, which are perfect for the person who wants to costume it up like they're Sheldon Cooper.
Anyway, that's it for this year. Have a Happy Hallo... Huh, what was that? I promised you physics zombies?
Oh, yes, of course, the physics zombies! How could I forget.
Those would come from a group of physics PhD students who put together a zombie film set that Large Hadron Collider. The film, called Decay, is slated for online release under a Creative Commons license, but there's an awesome trailer in place on their website. The premise is that the release of radiation energy at the LHC (referred to as "Higgs radiation" at one point in the trailer) somehow results in the creation of zombies. The sad thing is that even though this makes absolutely no physical sense, it's a far sight more thought-provoking than most zombie movies ever get. I'm not a big zombie movie fan, actually, but I really might have to watch this one.