The God Particle

From Yahoo News:

This is as big as the, well, big bang theory: Scientists working at the world’s largest atom smasher say they have enough evidence of the long-sought-after Higgs boson.

To the layman, the Higgs boson is the “God particle” and a key puzzle piece in the scientific explanation of the origin of the universe. Physicists around the globe—and perhaps elsewhere, given the size of the universe—have invested billions of dollars in research and have been hunting for the Higgs boson for decades.

Researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (or CERN) are expected to announce Wednesday that they have proof of its existence, reports The Associated Press.

The Higgs boson appeared 13.7 billion years ago in the chaos of the Big Bang and turned the flying debris into galaxies, stars and planets.

Its formal discovery, according to a broad scientific consensus, would be the greatest advance in knowledge of the universe in decades and a key to confirming the standard model of physics that explains what gives mass to matter and, by extension, how the universe was formed, according to the AP.

Rutgers University physicist Matt Strassler told Reuters that without the particle, “nothing like human beings, or the earth we live on, could exist.”

Physicist Joseph Lykken of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago explained in an interview with National Public Radio the difficulty for physicists in tracking down Higgs boson.

“We think the Higgs boson is a manifestation of the fact that the universe is filled with a force that we haven’t been able to detect yet that gives other particles mass,” Lykken told NPR. “It exists for a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second, or something like that, and then falls apart into other particles.”


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  • EricW

    A huge tragedy was the cancellation of this project in 1993, which delayed the discovery (assuming it has been discovered) of the Higgs boson. As described in Leon Lederman’s (with Dick Teresi) book THE GOD PARTICLE:

    The “God particle” of the title is Lederman’s term for what other physicists call a Higgs boson–a hypothetical particle that might hold a key to the subatomic world of quarks and leptons. To find out if a Higgs boson indeed exists, this Nobel laureate in physics conceived of the Superconducting Super Collider, which, if constructed, would be the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. Writing with Teresi (coauthor of The Three-Pound Universe ), Lederman first surveys moments of discovery from Newton to Einstein in a breezy, folksy style that can be annoying (“Galileo was an irascible sort of guy . . . . He could be a pain in the ass”). This style, however, serves the reader well when Lederman and Teresi enter the complexities of subatomic physics, clarifying the search for squarks and winos, grand unified theories, superstrings and dark matter. $100,000 ad/promo; author tour.
    Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

    Nobel Laureate and physicist Lederman is funny, clever, entertaining, and highly accessible as he charts the course of experimental physics from 430 B.C. to the planned opening of the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC), of which he is one of the principal architects. This book might be seen, in fact, as a sort of advertisement for the SSC, answering as it does the question, What is the SSC for ? Even allowing for Lederman’s open bias toward big physics, his book is a delight to read and absorb, far more accessible than most books about contemporary physics, because it is rooted in the experimental; the “God particle” of the title is the missing link of experimental physics, just as this book is the missing link between a complex world and the general reader…. Lederman will appeal to those interested in learning about science and the physical world….
    – Mark Shelton, Athens, Ohio
    Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

  • DRT

    I wish the young earth folks could appreciate this.

    The theory has predicted the existence of the Higgs Boson. We have spent billions of dollars trying to find evidence of this particle because its existence will lend more support to the existing theory. This has involved incredible advances in abstraction and substantiation that are difficult to imagine. We have modeled the universe in mathematics and check the results of this abstract representation against reality, and found support. This is kind of like setting up a series of domino’s that will go all around your house, your neighborhood and much much further, also involving other people to set up the dominos in areas that you can’t get to, and then knocking the first down and having the whole thing work. It is monumental.

  • AHH

    Alister McGrath, the insightful British theologian with a science background, had a nice little article on this a few months ago:

    It really does confirm a lot of how we have been coming to understand fundamentals of physics. It might have been more interesting had they not found it as that would have forced some rethinking of theories, but an expected result in this case is probably at least as satisfying as a surprise would have been.

  • Science explains how, but Scripture gives me the WHY.

  • Patrick


    I’m not a scientist, but, if I were, things like this would lead me into faith as opposed to away from it.

  • RJS

    Here’s a link:

    This is a confirmation of something that was unofficially known at the end of 20122011. Several of my colleagues have been involved with this search at LHC and earlier.

  • Darren King

    RJS, wow, now time travel is added to the mix! How on earth did you manage to determine what’s going to happen at the end of 2012? Amazing! 😉

  • RJS

    Whoops – although it would be accurate to say that at the end of 2011 they knew what would happen in 2012.

  • DRT

    The Mayans knew what would happen at the end of 2012 a very long time ago.

  • Patrick