2826: Gold

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It can be expensive to hire a professional spectroscopist for your wedding, but the quality of the spectra you get is worth it.
Title text: It can be expensive to hire a professional spectroscopist for your wedding, but the quality of the spectra you get is worth it.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by neutron stars in a mostly-closed relationship! Do NOT anger them OR delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

The comic depicts a seldom heard explanation of why gold is a common wedding ring material; that humans chose it due to its symbolism in reference to its creation. Gold, as the comic states, is most commonly created by r-process nucleosynthesis in the mergers of neutron stars; something which could be seen as analogous to a marriage. About 94% of the gold on Earth was created this way, with the rest made by supernova nucleosynthesis.[1][2] But gold was used in wedding rings before the discovery of how it was created, thus the joke.

Wedding receptions sometimes have a theme, which is used to style the decorations and activities of the party. If the couple has a shared interest in something in popular culture (especially if this is how they met), they might use that as the theme. Megan suggests that "Binary Neutron Star Merger" would be a fun theme; this would probably only be true for astronomers or cosmologists.

Cueball adds that an activity at such a wedding would be ejecting the bouquet at relativistic speeds; this is a reference to the traditional activity of the bride throwing her bouquet into the crowd, and whoever catches it is predicted to be the next to get married. The collision of neutron stars ejects material with enormous amounts of energy. The ejected bouquet would therefore be traveling "relativistically" (i.e. at a high fraction of the speed of light). If you caught such a bouquet while at rest relative to the merger point, you would be destroyed by the energy, so everyone tries not to catch it in that fashion. Of course, as shown in the What If? link above, everyone in the room and the surroundings would be vaporized if such a feat was possible.

Continuing with the cosmological theme, the title text suggests that the wedding photographer would be a spectroscopist. Spectroscopy, which determines the composition of materials by splitting its light into a spectrum and analyzing the wavelengths that are strong and those that are missing, is a common way to study stars, nebulae, and other astronomical phenomena. After the relativistic bouquet was thrown, he would be able to make a nice spectroscopy of the entire wedding ceremony if he stood far enough away. He could, of course, not present it to the bride, as she was part of the light being emitted. On the other hand, neutron stars that get married like this also do not survive. And anyway that is also the case with lots of marriages.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Cueball holding some small sparkling thing, implied to be a gold wedding ring]
Cueball: It kinda makes sense that we use gold for wedding rings.
[Frame shifts to Cueball's head]
Cueball: Because a lot of the universe's gold was probably produced by R-process nucleosynthesis when pairs of neutron stars spiraled together and merged.
Cueball: So gold exists because two neutron stars got married.
[Megan walks in from side towards Cueball]
Megan: "Binary neutron star merger" would be a fun wedding theme.
Cueball: Everyone has to try not to catch the relativistically-ejected bouquet.

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Why do people have to add "Citation Needed" tags when there is no need, nor is it funny. The joke stopped being funny at least a decade ago. SDSpivey (talk) 16:21, 9 September 2023 (UTC)

   [Citation needed] 19:17, 9 September 2023 (UTC)
It can be amusing when it's used occasionally... say, in fewer than 1 page in 4 or 5. Every page, let alone multiple times on a single page? It's like the guy who tells the same weak puns, over and over, anytime one tries to talk with him. Who can't stop doing it. Who has lost friends and roommates over that habit but still can't stop.
Please don't be that guy. Stop with the constant stream of "citation needed"s. BunsenH (talk) 22:51, 9 September 2023 (UTC)
I agree... I always check the link because I'm hopeful it will be something more clever, like when RM would link in the blog to a person looking to buy a Chevy Citation or something like that... but no, it's always the ancient "Wikipedia protester" comic! Mathmannix (talk) 12:40, 10 September 2023 (UTC)
At this point it's running gag and it's ok to have one on every page. Granted, having multiple on single page might be too much, unless it's some REALLY funny case. -- Hkmaly (talk) 03:10, 11 September 2023 (UTC)

Believe it or not, this comic genuinely made me say "Aww..." 12:24, 10 September 2023 (UTC)

FYI in this context it's "Au".
ProphetZarquon (talk) 17:39, 10 September 2023 (UTC)
Can't believe I didn't think of that! *facepalm* 08:18, 11 September 2023 (UTC)

I always assumed it was because of gold's use in high-end electronics. It assures a corrosion free and high bandwidth connection, thus symbolizing the communication necessary for a healthy marriage. 15:34, 10 September 2023 (UTC)

This is also good idea, but note that it shares the little issue of gold being used for wedding rings way longer than someone discovered what bandwidth is. Now, there could be something on the corrosion-free part. -- Hkmaly (talk) 03:10, 11 September 2023 (UTC)
Surely anyone making wedding rings should know what width the bands ought to be? 09:27, 11 September 2023 (UTC)

Given the link to What If? 1, I wonder what kinds of nucleosynthesis would result from that relativistic baseball... BunsenH (talk) 16:00, 10 September 2023 (UTC)

Don't understand the last line of the current explanation - I can't see anything in the comic that refers to, or even hints at, astrology. 16:38, 11 September 2023 (UTC)