4 July 2012
Conjecture as to the imminent announcement of the confirmation of the existence of Higgs boson – the so-called “God particle”, an elusive sub-atomic particle that is believed to confer mass – has created fevered excitement in theoretical physics circles and confused interest among the rest of us. American physicist Michio Kakau explains that the existence of Higgs boson will open the floodgates for a whole new branch of theoretical physics:
There are some eternal questions that cannot be answered in the framework of conventional physics. Is time travel possible? Are there gateways to other universes? Are the other dimensions?
The ABC reports the Higgs boson has become known as the “God particle,” the quip being that, like God, it is everywhere but hard to find.
In fact, the origin of the name is rather less poetic.
It comes from the title of a book by Nobel physicist Leon Lederman whose draft title was The Goddamn Particle, to describe the frustrations of trying to nail the Higgs. The title was cut back to The God Particle by his publisher, apparently fearful that “Goddamn” could be offensive.