You thought you were a geek’s geek. You can spout the latest mobile specs off the top of your head, know exactly how an four-core or eight-core chip would impact the user experience, and can tell the difference between a 720p and 1080p display blindfolded. Then someone has the nerve to bring up the Large Hadron Collider.

Shoot. Suddenly your geek cred is on the line, as you wrack your brain over the darn thing. But you know next to nothing about particle accelerators.

Worry not, TEDEducation has your back on this one. The animated TED presentation explains the technology, and it does so in three and a half minutes. Particle accelerators are essentially “atom smashers,” and the vid not only explains how they work, but it even illustrates how people can DIY their own simple ones using a battery and metal plates.

Maybe it’s not quite “Sheldon Cooper”–worthy, but at least it can save you from total conversational oblivion next time you’re hanging with that gang of particle physicists.

Source TEDEd