Media around the world today is exploding with the news "Scientists have discovered the God particle". A lot of the stories focus on how they discovered it. I don't care how, I'm concerned with what. What is this God particle? Is it like God dandruff? He shook his head and now we have a flake? What does it tell us?
The God Particle was the name of a 1993 book by Nobel prize winner Leon Lederman.
As you can see from the cover it was "The funniest book about physics ever written". I don't imagine the competition was too stiff. That's like writing the saddest tribute to the Three Stooges.
So what does this God particle do? The particle has nothing godlike about it. It's a hypothetical particle, part of the so-called Standard Model of particle physics. Its main job is to give masses to all other particles. I guess, in this role, it does have something of a centralizing influence, although nothing quite divine. Its real name, the Higgs boson, honors Scottish physicist Peter Higgs who, in the 1960s, worked on perfecting the details of the mass-giving mechanism."
Am I the only one who nodded off during that? What they're saying is this particle is like the glue to stuff. If it didn't exist particles couldn't join up and everything would just be a mess of particles. Kind of like Lindsay Lohan. One scientist said before this discovery, "if we find the Higgs boson or as you call it the God particle, we will be able to explain why the universe is the way it is". That's pretty awesome! So what do we know today about our universe? Professor Joseph Lykken said "We now know that our universe is unstable and it will eventually be wiped out". Dr Lykken's book will apparently be no threat to compete for the funniest book on physics award. So once again we have a major scientific breakthrough and all it does is make me thank God that He's running it all and none of us.