Saturday, March 10, 2007
The "God" Particle
A special installment, for the particle physicists out there...
In the excellent movie "Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels" there is a part where a gang of small-time hoodlums are being attacked by someone with an air-rifle.
The dialogue goes something like this:
person1: "Ouch, I've been shot!"
person2: "Ouch, I've been shot!"
person3 (annoyed): "Will everyone please stop getting shot?!"
In the same vein, I would like to ask:
Will everyone please stop calling the Higgs Particle the "God" Particle ?!
(e.g. Leon Lederman in his book )
The Higgs particle is the last-to-be-discovered particle in the menagerie that is described by the "Standard Model" of particle physics.
If the Higgs particle is discovered, will that prove, or disprove the existence of God?
Well no, actually it won't.
Is there anything more magical about the Higgs particle than any one of the dozens of other particles that are predicted by the Standard Model and that have been observed?
Let's see... One difference is that nobody's seen the Higgs yet (i.e. nobody has directly observed it). Also, the Higgs is "responsible for giving other particles their mass". But the W and Z vector bosons act as mediators of the Weak force.
The photon mediates the electromagnetic force. So why not call THEM God particles? The poor things undoubtedly have a terrible inferiority complex by now.
When the Top quark was observed back in 1994, was that seen as evidence for or against God?
So, why use that term?
My friends, there is one reason alone: marketing (and with that, book sales).
But the Higgs particle has no more to do with God (or absence of God) than any other particle.
So, how about we just call it "the Higgs particle"? We don't want to give any false impressions (do we?).
Moving on to today's quote:
"Wisdom comes with winters."
Until the next time, dear reader, I remain,