Perfectly cromulent for publication

SciAm’s news blog reveals the Simpsonization of cosmology:

I emailed Kachru, one of the most prominent younger researchers working on string theory, to get the back-story. Here’s what he told me, in Q-and-A form. (Hint: it only has to do with the biggest development in string theory in the last 10 years.)

SA: How did you come across the word embiggen?

SK: I first came across this word in “The Simpsons,” a source of knowledge for all serious theoretical physicists. It was used in the sentence “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.” So by context I assume it means “to enlarge or expand in size.”

…Similarly, D-branes in string theory can carry dipoles of higher D-brane charges. The relevant case for us was that a D3 brane can carry D5 dipole charge; in the right circumstances, background fields (analogous to the electric field above) then cause it to “expand” into a D5 brane wrapping some two-dimensional curve in the geometry.

You can see that in this situation, it is ideal to use the phrase “…the anti-D3 brane embiggens into a D5 brane wrapping…” and that is roughly the context in which we used the phrase.