Wednesday, 4 July 2012

What IS the "God particle"?

Yet another unexpected and unplanned post...
But hey, such are the times we live in.

As you may have heard by now, researchers from CERN have announced that they have reached a 99.99995 % (or "at 4.9 sigma significance", as they put it) of certainty that they have found the Higgs boson, also known as "the God particle".

What is the Higgs boson?
And why is it called "the God particle"?

To put it very, very simply - but then, all the greatest things in the world are simple - the Higgs boson (called after Peter Higgs, the British physicist who was among the first physicists to theorise about its existence around 1964) is a mysterious subatomic particle that imparts the components of every atom their mass.
They need mass to stay together and form an atom, in the first place, or they would be dispersed, buzzing around and forming nothing.

In other words, the Higgs boson could be seen as a spark of the cohesive force - the "eros" - that permeates the universe and makes it stick together and BE.
That, I am assuming, is why it is called "the God particle".

It gives an extra meaning to the saying God is love, doesn't it? 

Think about eros.
It's not just porn, you know. :)

In fact, it is the cohesive force of everything that is.


L. said...

I think the title is wrong.
It should have been:

"Higgs boson - it's not just porn, you know"


Myosotis said...

I always knew I needed an editor... :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm told that Leaderman's book on the Higgs Boson was supposed to be called the 'The Goddam Particle', but his publishers insisted on shortening the title to something more catchy "The God Particle"...

...and the name stuck.

Myosotis said...


Yes, publishers and editors can be a pest... :)

I can already predict I'll be irresistibly tempted to use the "original" name every time the boson comes under discussion.

So, thanks... I think. :-)