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Higgs: 'stop calling it the god particle'

Posted on Tuesday, 9 April, 2013 | Comment icon 28 comments | News tip by: Render


Image credit: CC 2.0 Andrew A. Ranicki

 
The scientist behind the Higgs boson has called for people to stop calling it the God particle.

Professor Peter Higgs is credited with predicting the existence of the particle in 1964 and following its discovery became a worldwide celebrity. One thing he still has a problem with however is the use of the term "God particle" to reference the Higgs boson. "First of all, I'm an atheist," he said during a recent BBC interview. "The second thing is I know that name was a kind of joke and not a very good one."

The term "God particle" was first suggested by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman in a book in which he wrote - "This boson is so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive, that I have given it a nickname: the God particle." The Higgs Boson was thereafter referred to as the God particle both by scientists and in the media, much to Professor Higgs' dismay.

"The 83-year-old scientist, who lives in Edinburgh, insisted the reference was not funny and was actually misleading."

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 Source: Telegraph


  Discuss: View comments (28)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by Frank Merton on 23 April, 2013, 9:59
Peter Higgs is a great scientist and a charming man. That he gets this honor is fine with me. That there are others involved is always the case.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Render on 23 April, 2013, 12:04
Peter Higgs is a great scientist and a charming man. That he gets this honor is fine with me. That there are others involved is always the case. But Higgs wasn't the only discoverer. That's the whole point. He discovered it in parallel with Brout and Englert .. then 3 others get involved and contributed further. But a lazy journalist only used one name in an article, Higgs...So now everyone ingorantly calls it the Higgs like he's the only one who came with it and built on this theory. It's disrespectful to keep singling him out and ignoring all the others. How would you feel?
Comment icon #21 Posted by Frank Merton on 23 April, 2013, 12:41
Was Einstein the only discoverer of relativity, Darwin the only discoverer of evolution, Feynman the only discoverer of Feynman diagrams? No one works in a vacuum, and this is getting to be less and less the case. You ask how I would feel? What sort of question is that? I would be happy for him. Envy is what I am hearing, and it isn't appropriate in science.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Render on 23 April, 2013, 13:11
Was Einstein the only discoverer of relativity, Darwin the only discoverer of evolution, Feynman the only discoverer of Feynman diagrams? No one works in a vacuum, and this is getting to be less and less the case. You ask how I would feel? What sort of question is that? I would be happy for him. Envy is what I am hearing, and it isn't appropriate in science. Maybe im not explaining this right ... Okay, suppose you discovered a planet where life is present... and around the same time someone in different place discoveres the exact same planet . Then some jerk journalist doesn't even mention you... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by Frank Merton on 23 April, 2013, 13:39
I assume there will be awards aplenty handed out for this, not just to Higgs. It's just that a simple name is needed, this one has stuck, it is vastly better than "god particle," and the man is worthy. Lots and lots of things are named after just one individual, and there may be some unfairness involved, but words and names stick. After all, we don't call "America" something like "Columbia," and from what I know about Christopher as a person, it is just as well.
Comment icon #24 Posted by sepulchrave on 24 April, 2013, 15:59
In the original papers, Englert and Brout describe how the gauge vector bosons in a system with broken symmetry do not necessarily have to be massless, while Peter Higgs identifies a specific symmetry-breaking mechanism that will lead to two massive scalar gauge bosons (in addition to some vector gauge bosons). The ``Higgs particle'' is a massive scalar boson; I do not think it is unfair to attribute this particle to Higgs alone. Englert and Brout came very close, but did not explicitly identify the particle in their paper; Higgs did. If a Nobel prize for the entire theory is awarded only to H... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by Colonel Rhuairidh on 27 April, 2013, 6:47
But Higgs wasn't the only discoverer. That's the whole point. He discovered it in parallel with Brout and Englert .. then 3 others get involved and contributed further. But a lazy journalist only used one name in an article, Higgs...So now everyone ingorantly calls it the Higgs like he's the only one who came with it and built on this theory. It's disrespectful to keep singling him out and ignoring all the others. How would you feel? yes, but Higgs Boson is one thing, Higgs Brout Englert Boson is surely quite another. It sounds like a firm of lawyers, or an advertising agency.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Colonel Rhuairidh on 27 April, 2013, 6:54
Maybe im not explaining this right ... Okay, suppose you discovered a planet where life is present... and around the same time someone in different place discoveres the exact same planet . Then some jerk journalist doesn't even mention you, and hails the other person as the most brilliant mind of this century. And then, even though you did the exact same thing, you get no recognition from because no one knows you or receives you as credible, because you weren't "the discoverer". They're not even asking to have their names mentioned, that's not envy .. that's validated entitled recognition. The... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by libstaK on 27 April, 2013, 10:11
Well now that it has been proven to exist "God Particle" does seem a bit inappropriate doesn't it
Comment icon #28 Posted by ExpandMyMind on 27 April, 2013, 14:55
In the original papers, Englert and Brout describe how the gauge vector bosons in a system with broken symmetry do not necessarily have to be massless, while Peter Higgs identifies a specific symmetry-breaking mechanism that will lead to two massive scalar gauge bosons (in addition to some vector gauge bosons). The ``Higgs particle'' is a massive scalar boson; I do not think it is unfair to attribute this particle to Higgs alone. Englert and Brout came very close, but did not explicitly identify the particle in their paper; Higgs did. If a Nobel prize for the entire theory is awarded only to H... [More]


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