Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Higgs Day!

It's now official: the experiments at LHC have discovered the Higgs particle. Depending on how you slice and dice the numbers, they just meet the "5 sigma" criterion to claim discovery. Combined, they will certainly exceed that, but the official combination won't be available for a while. In the meantime, here's the unofficial combination.
The new particle has a mass of about 125 GeV  (about 125 times heavier than the proton). You can read a brief description of the significance of this discovery here, but if you want the full story, read the book.


  1. Wasn't the Higgs called "the God-Partical" largely as a marketing campaign?

    Sort of like when Hawking ended Brief History of Time with the word "Then we will know the Mind of God" he thought that would net him a few million more sales.

  2. "The God Particle" was the title of a book by Leon Lederman. I'm sure it was chosen to increase interest in the book. Supposedly, the Higgs is the God particle because without it, life as we know it would not exist. (Of course, the same could be said of the photon, or the up quark, or the electron, or ....)

    "Mind of God" comes from an Einstein quote.

    I think marketing is only part of the reason for this kind of talk. When scientists reach for language to capture the awe and wonder they feel in investigating the deep mysteries of the universe, they tend to employ religious language - perhaps because that is the only sort of language they are familiar with capable of expressing such sentiments.

    I assure you atheists find it at least as annoying as you do...

  3. Thank you for the response Prof.

    As you might not know Feser posted his reply to you some time ago.

    He also has an interesting Post from Catholic Physicist Stephen Barr & Quantum Physics.

    Enjoy boss.