The media insistence on calling the Higgs boson the “God Particle” came from Leon Lederman’s book The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?, and it has been annoying physicists ever since. One of those ironies of history is the Lederman wanted to call it the Goddamn Particle, but his publisher refused to allow the name, and the rest is history.
With CERN’s announcement this morning of the official discovery of “a particle consistent with the Higgs boson” on two different detectors with a confidence level of 4.9 sigma on the CMS detector and 5.0 sigma on the ATLAS detector, they have definitely found something. It is CP neutral, colorless (in a QCD sense), chargeless, and probably spin 0 as required for a Higgs boson. However there may also be other bosons with these characteristics, hence the caution.
It should be interesting to see if any “news” programs mention it tonight. On the only show in which I have heard anything so far, it was called the Higgs “bosun” which I’ll gladly accept if there’s anything of substance in the report.
On another front, I found an interesting quote:
Higgs is an atheist, and is displeased that the Higgs particle is nicknamed the “God particle”, because the term “might offend people who are religious”.
It actually combines two quotes, the first, from an unnamed physicist, and the second from Leon Lederman. I’ve been waiting for the “God Particle” to come out of the closet. It’s long overdue that the particle’s atheism should be announced. And now you know.