higgs boson

The God Particle, The Goddamn Particle, And The Higgs Boson

Science blogs have been buzzing this week with the news that the God Particle has been found by CERN scientists. Only, the God Particle doesn’t exist, at least not to scientists. Formally, it’s known as the Higgs Boson. Informally, it’s the Goddamn Particle.

Pauline Gagnon, a Canadian member of CERN’s ATLAS team, told Reuters:

“I hate that ‘God particle’ term…. The Higgs is not endowed with any religious meaning. It is ridiculous to call it that.”

Oliver Buchmueller, another Higgs hunter, said:

“Calling it the ‘God particle’ is completely inappropriate… It’s not doing justice to the Higgs and what we think its role in the universe is. It has nothing to do with God.”

According to the Economist, the Higgs Boson was dubbed the “Goddamn Particle” by Leon Lederman since it was seemingly impossible to isolate. Lederman, a leading researcher in the field, wanted to title his book “The Goddamn Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question?” But his editor decided that the title was too controversial and convinced Lederman to change the title to “The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question?”

And since the Higgs Boson deals with how matter was formed at the time of the big bang, and since newspapers loved the term, the myth of “God” particle was born.

Pippa Wells, another CERN scientist, said:

“Without (the Higgs Boson), or something like it, particles would just have remained whizzing around the universe at the speed of light… Hearing it called the ‘God particle’ makes me angry. It confuses people about what we are trying to do here at CERN.”

James Gillies, spokesman for CERN, said that most scientists don’t like the term “god particle” but admitted that the term does make a bit of sense when referring to the Higgs Boson.

Gillies said:

“Of course it has nothing to do with God whatsoever… But I can understand why people go that way because the Higgs is so important to our understanding of nature.”

Do you think CERN scientists have found the Higgs Boson, I mean the God Particle, I mean the Goddamn Particle? A big announcement is expected on July 4th.