My own cosmic microwave background

Posted by Liz Kruesi
on Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CMB plushieLast week, my fiancé sent me a gift at work — a weird little stuffed toy. But after I looked closer, I realized it’s a toy plushie version of the cosmic microwave background radiation. Yes, such a thing exists.

The company that makes it, The Particle Zoo (, is actually one artist who hand-creates plush versions of the universe’s subatomic particles — both those known and those hypothesized. She also creates plush toys of different cosmic epochs (this is where the cosmic microwave background fits in).

Julie Peasley — the artist, aka the particle “zookeeper” — also makes the toys with different material depending on the mass of that particle. A photon has normal stuffing, but the proton uses poly beads, and the Higgs boson contains gravel. She also uses different outer material — felt or fleece — depending on the particle’s mass.

If you’re a geek (and if you’re reading this, odds are good), go check it out. I think the neutrinos are hilarious (they have masks because they’re elusive, like ninjas), as is the strange quark (it has three eyes).

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