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article imageAtheist Prof. Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the 'God particle'

By Yukio Strachan     Apr 10, 2013 in Science
Edinburgh - Scottish physicist Peter Higgs told a London newspaper recently that God does not exist and so people should stop referring to the Higgs boson as the "God particle."
What is the Higgs boson? The elusive particle,The Guardian reports, called a Higgs boson, was predicted in 1964 to help fill in our understanding of the creation of the universe, which many theorize occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang. The particle was named for Peter Higgs, CBS reports, one of the physicists who proposed its existence, but it later became popularly known as the "God particle."
It's popularity can be owed to the book titled: "The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question?" Nobel-winning physicist Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, a science writer, co-wrote the book,The CBC reported.
According to legend, Lederman said this title wasn't his first choice. Originally he wanted to call it the "Goddamn Particle", because "nobody could find the thing." But, according to NPR, his publisher rejected the epithet - possibly because of its potential to upset a strongly religious U.S. public - and convinced Lederman to take a different route.
However, ever since the book came out, the Higgs boson hasn't been able to escape the nickname. But Higgs would like to reverse that trend.
The 83-year-old Edinburgh University professor wants people to stop referring to the Higgs as the "God particle" because he does not believe the particle holding the physical fabric of the universe together is the work of an almighty creator, the Telegraph reported
Other physicists vehemently agreed.
"We hate calling it the God particle," said William Trischuk, a professor of physics at the University of Toronto, the CBC reported.
And ultimately, researchers say the term "God particle" simply doesn't fit the Higgs boson's actual characteristics.
"It's an awful name," Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist at the City College of New York, told LiveScience. "It does not convey the particle's true role, that it is the last missing piece of the Standard Model, and that it gives mass to the other particles."
When a reporter from the Guardian asked a physicist in Manchester how he felt about the God particle tag: He paused. He sighed. "I really, really don't like it. It sends out all the wrong messages. It overstates the case. It makes us look arrogant. It's rubbish," he said.
He added: "If you walked down the corridor here, poked your head into people's offices and asked that question, you would likely be struck by flying books."
This is not the first time Higgs has spoken about dislike of the term. In August 2008, Higgs told Reuters UK that as an atheist, he angrily rejected the idea of calling the boson the "God particle." In September 2008, he told Edinburgh's Scotsman.com the "God particle" tag embarrassed him.
If you want to see more about Peter Higgs watch: BBC Scotland Investigates: Peter Higgs: Particle Man will be broadcast on BBC1 Scotland at 22:35 on Wednesday 10 April, and for a week later on the BBC iPlayer.
More about Peter Higgs, God particle, Higgs boson, Leon Lederman
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