reports that a nonsense word from The Simpsons
has made its way into a scientific paper. Stanford University physicist Shamit Kachru managed to slip the word "embiggen" into a journal article titled "Gauge/gravity duality and meta-stable dynamical supersymmetry breaking."
The word embiggen first appeared in a 1996 episode of The Simpsons
. It was used by Jebediah Springfield in these lines of dialogue:
Jebediah: [on film] A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.
Edna: Embiggens? I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield
Ms. Hoover: I don't know why. It's a perfectly cromulent word.
Here's how Kachru used the word in his article:
While in both cases for P anti-D3-branes the probe approximation is clearly not good, in the set up of this paper we could argue that there is a competing effect which can overcome the desire of the anti-D3s to embiggen, namely their attraction towards the wrapped D5s. Hence, also on the gravity side, the non-supersymmetric states would naively be meta-stable.
This isn't the first time joke words have made their way into usage. I think the words "hornswoggle" and "absquatulate" started out as jokes, invented by people in the midwest. But now they appear in many dictionaries.