The April Fool Archive

CERN Switches to Comic Sans    (April Fool's Day - 2014)

CERN, the Geneva-based organization that operates the world's largest particle physics laboratory, announced that henceforth all its webpages would be written in Comic Sans. CERN Head of Communications James Gillies noted, "We thought the most effective way to communicate our research into the fundamental structure of matter at the very boundaries of technology was by changing the font." He added, "This is a serious laboratory, with a serious research agenda... And it makes the letters look all round and squishy."

The switch was inspired by Dr. Fabiola Gianotti's choice to use Comic Sans in a 2012 presentation presenting results related to the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Her font choice was widely remarked upon as being peculiar for a serious scientific talk, and led to an online petition urging Microsoft to rename Comic Sans to 'Comic Cerns'.

CERN "presentation analyst" May Dupp noted, "According to our calculations, 80% of the success of [Dr. Gianotti's] presentation came not from the discovery of a fundamental particle that explains the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism for how particles get mass, but from the choice of font... It's a logical step – and plain common sense – to apply this technique to all of CERN's communications."

CERN added that all especially important physics results would be accompanied online by animations of little clappy hands.

Screenshot of Dr. Gianotti's 2012 presentation

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