I See LOTS of God-Particles!

This is the day! The science world is panting with excitement, exhilarated because scientists at Europe’s CERN research centre near Geneva have announced that the elusive Higgs boson—the subatomic particle imagined and named half a century ago by theoretical physicist Peter Higgs—has been discovered. 

According to Reuters, CERN Hadron Collider director general Rolf Heuer told scientists and reporters gathered at the CERN near Geneva that: 

Two independent studies of data produced by smashing proton particles together at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider produced a convergent near-certainty on the existence of the new particle. It is unclear whether it is exactly the boson Higgs described.

The Higgs boson is a hypothetical elementary particle. Until now, scientists have only conjectured that it exists. If it did, they theorized, this would explain how particles clumped together to form stars, planets and life itself.  It would be the most basic of known particles, from which all else in creation is derived.  Without the Higgs boson, the theory goes, the universe would have remained a primordial soup, with no organization.

The Higgs boson got its name from Peter Higgs, a researcher and popular broadcaster from Edinburgh University. In the early 1960s, Higgs hypothesized that there must be a mechanism—an invisible shield—by which matter in the universe gained mass.  It’s been popularly called the “God particle,” and despite scientists’ objections, the nickname has merit:  It’s as though God opened his great Hand and caused the Big Bang to explode and expand into a living universe. 

I’m no scientist, so let me scratch out a simple explanation, with a little help from Wikipedia:

The Higgs field is a quantum field that fills all of space, and explains why fundamental particles (or elementary particles) such as quarks and electrons have mass. The Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field above its ground state.

Here’s a great explanation for non-scientists:


Father Robert Spitzer, S.J., noted physicist and former president of Gonzaga University, explained in an interview that even if they find it, the Higgs boson is not the beginning of the universe. There would have been many steps before that one step: steps involving “nothing” turning into “something.”

Anyway, my point in all this is that there are LOTS of God particles—lots of ways that you can see, with the eyes of faith, God at work in His creation. 

We see His handiwork in the flowers of the field:

or in the skies, in a thunderstorm:

or in a fetus’s amazing development in the womb:

Still having a hard time wrapping your mind around this “boson” stuff?  So am I.  So here, courtesy of CBS, is the cartoon version.

  • Mark Erickson

    Congrats, your post made the front page of all Higgs articles on google news. Unfortunately, you got some stuff wrong. The higgs is not the most basic particle, creating all the rest. All sub atomic particles in the standard model are equally basic. The specialness of the higgs is that it gives mass to some particles, which does allow matter to form.

    • Kathy Schiffer

      Thanks, Mark. See: I am an English aficionado, and am completely stymied by science!