The God Particle
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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