Why God Particle Is a Perfect Name For The Higgs Boson

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I prefer to call it The Force—a particle that "surrounds us and penetrates us, binding the galaxy together"—but Czech physicist Luboš Motl makes a good case as to why the Higgs boson should be called the God Particle.


Motl argues that all those scientists saying that God Particle is a bad name just do it mainly because they don't want to be labeled, "a ritual that helps to assure many physicists that 'they're a part of the right community', a classical example of a group think."

He makes some good points, revising all the name alternatives. A physicist proposed the dreadful the evanescent yet essential Higgs boson. According to Motl, that's "long, redundant, smug, hard-to-pronounce, hard-to-remember, arbitrary, and just universally annoying." He is right.


Others proposed stickyon, inertiaon, oom (origin of mass), and weighton. Even Billion, because it's going to cost $10 billion to find it.

I have to agree again with Motl: all of those sound like total crap.

Why God Particle?

Other than God Particle, the cheeky Czech physicist also likes hardon, "because it makes previously soft/light/placid particles hard/heavy." This is actually my favorite of the lote but, obviously, it's not a very elegant name for what could become one of the most fundamental particles in physics—if it's ever discovered.


So after examining all the options, the atheist Motl thinks that, indeed, God Particle is a great name. And to justify it, he uses the Genesis (in italics), translating it to a scientifically accurate version (in bold):

1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

1. In the beginning, the Higgs field created, by interactions with itself, the unstable stationary point at the top and the stable stationary valley at the bottom of the potential.


2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

2. The symmetry-breaking vacuum was a sea of radiation without any internal structure; and electromagnetic interactions and light were previously mixed with the other electroweak gauge bosons. And the condensate of the Higgs field moved into the sea of radiation.


3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

3. And the Higgs field had the quantum numbers to preserve the unbroken symmetry of light: and light particle remained light and probably massless.


4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

4. And the Higgs field was able to interact with light (via virtual loops of W-bosons and top quarks), i.e. to "see it", and the vanishing tree-level interactions guaranteed that the quantum number sourcing the interactions via the exchange of virtual light particles was a good quantum number (called the electric charge).


His article has more of this Genesis. He has convinced me, even while doing it all tongue-in-cheek. God particle it is from now on. [The Reference Frame]