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We can break up our body into cells. We can break up cells into atoms. We can break up atoms into protons, neutrons, and electrons. We can break up protons into…..?

A Scottish scientist called Peter Higgs in the 1960’s suggested a new fundamental particle of physics called the boson. It would explain how protons, neutrons, and electrons were themselves formed, and what gives them their mass. The boson is such a fundamental particle (all things are made out of it) that laymen started calling it the God-particle. Scientists don’t use this term, but instead refer to it as the Higgs boson. My business partner loves all this, because his name is Nigel Higgs and he is even from the UK (but not from Scotland).

The God-particle has just been discovered at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It is one of the major discoveries in the last 100 years. “We have now found the missing cornerstone of particle physics,” was the announcement by the director of CERN, Rolf Heuer. Two independent teams of scientists (2,000-3,000 persons in each team) confirmed the discovery.

An expensive bit of atom-smashing machinery (costing around 10 billion dollars) was built by a European outfit called CERN at the Swiss-French border. The idea was that two proton beams would be accelerated through a 17-mile underground tunnel, and reach almost the speed of light before crashing into each other and hopefully producing some bosons. Only at extremely high energies can you break up a proton into bosons. And the boson lifetime is extremely short….they hang around only for milliseconds. But if you have a particle detector (ie, a fancy Geiger counter) sitting in the right place, you might be able to record a boson’s track after the protons crash into each other.

The discovery of the God-particle and its awesome properties makes me think of God. In my garden this morning, I looked at and smelled a ravishing red rosebud, just starting to open its petals, and made the same connection. When from my office window I gaze at Sandia Peak standing tall at 11,000 feet I get the same feeling. Maybe we could call it a God-feeling. This reverence for God and the things He has made are good to reflect upon, as the Psalmist did*. With humility and pride, it is well to remember where we stand in the scheme of things. In my opinion, the comment “Thanks, nature!” made by Fabiola Gianotti, head of one of the two teams, does not cut it in reference to the discovery of the God-particle!

Appendix for science-lovers:
The Higgs boson, which until now has been a theoretical particle, is seen as the key to understand why matter has mass, which combines with gravity to give an object weight. The idea is much like gravity and Isaac Newton’s discovery of it: gravity was there all the time before Newton explained it.
The concept is that other particles (like protons) attract Higgs bosons and the more they attract, the bigger their mass will be. Some liken the effect to a Higgs-boson snowfield that affects other particles traveling through it depending on whether they are wearing skis, snowshoes, or street shoes.
The Higgs boson was proposed to explain what gives mass to matter, and to understand things like dark matter, antimatter, and ultimately the Big Bang creation of the universe billions of years ago.
The above comments are extracted from: http://www.orovillemr.com/news/ci_20989795/evidence-god-particle-found-big-announcement-expected-july and from http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/news-general/20120702/EU.Switzerland.God.Particle/

The Gray Nomad.
Probing the practice of Christian believers….

*“When I view Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have ordained; what is man, that You are mindful of him, and the son of man, that You care for him? Yet You have made him but little lower than God (or angels), and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands”. (Psalms, chapter 8).

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11 Responses to The God-Particle

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  2. I just read this article in the St.Louis paper this morning. I am glad you read it also. Thanks for the information. We are in St.Louis for a few days. Went to the Arch in downtown St.Louis and watched the fireworks and also a concert. Too many people, but it was beautiful seeing the fireworks in the center of the Arch.

    • I haven’t seen the Arch in many years, but it would be impressive with the fireworks. Thanks for your comment Marie.

  3. This is real exciting news. Could knowledge truly be increasing in the latter days? Exponentially I’d say!

    • Yes, Dale I think knowledge is increasing exponentially. But God seems to be selecting people from different walks to bring attention to Himself: Tebow, Lin, Bubba Watson, Bill Self, and even the guy who walked across Niagara Falls!

  4. Daniel Hood |

    That was very informative. I am really interested in the Higgs Boson particle. Can you explain how the boson particle is connected to dark matter?

    • Daniel, I don’t know the answer. But I dug up some quotes that relate to the question (see link at bottom).
      “The theory proposed by Higgs in the 1960s is that a new particle must be creating a “sticky” field that acts as a drag on other particles”.
      “First and foremost is the question of how this invisible background field tied to the existence of the Higgs boson came to be and why it has the properties it does. This field was simply posited to exist, and apparently it does”.
      “We might, for example, find the particles that make up more than 90% of the matter in our galaxy and all galaxies, which look dark to our eyes”.
      “Scientists will keep probing the new particle until they fully understand how it works. In doing so they hope to understand the 96 percent of the universe that remains hidden from view. This may result in the discovery of new particles and even hitherto unknown forces of nature”.
      Daniel, this suggests to me that some undiscovered particle may be aquiring mass from this Higgs-boson field, and these undiscovered particles make up the dark matter.
      http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/06/opinion/krauss-higgs-particle/index.html?hpt=hp_abar

  5. A Higgs Boson walks into a church. The Priest says: “We don’t allow Higgs Bosons in here.”

    The Higgs Boson replies: “But without me, how can you have mass?”

  6. Sheila Thompson |

    WOW Ian! I understand nothing about protons, neutrons, and electrons, but I’m impressed and glad there are people like you who do. I do relate to the awesome way after prayer that God gives us answers to questions we just can’t figure out. It is almost daily that I get stuck with a computer program or something smilar and when I get frustrated I decide to pray. Often within moments it is solved. I call it ‘productivity through prayer’. 🙂 The sweetest one was when I lost the diamond in my engagement ring. With Bruce gone it had even more meaning. After searching and praying for a few days I found it in my car about to slip down between the plastic and the carpet never to be found. Major celebration! Thanks for your posts, they are always so encouraging.

    • Thats a beautiful example of answered prayer Sheila. A real uplift for a Monday morning! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Donna Cowan, ACS CL |

    Okay, this is all Greek to me but i watched something on the National Geographic channel about thread theory I believe they called it. Something about parallel universes. I can’t remember anything! Okay, it was string theory, not thread. What do you know about that?

    • String theory attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything (TOE), a mathematical model that describes all fundamental forces and forms of matter (what Einstein was working on in the last 20-30 years of his life). String theory posits that the electrons and quarks within an atom are 1-dimensional oscillating lines (“strings”). The earliest string model, the bosonic string, incorporated only bosons. Just two weeks ago, the boson was discovered (the Higgs boson). Re parallel universes, there are many different theories. The number and properties of each universe depends on the multiverse theory. I don’t know about a connection between string theory and parallel universes. Interestingly, the word “Multiverse” was coined in 1895 by William James, a philosopher, who also said that a spiritual (born-again) experience was like tipping a 12-sided Mexican onyx rock calendar from one face to another.

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