Tuesday, December 13, 2011

science :god particle Discovered

god particle
We're expecting interesting news in the world in physics in the next few minutes. Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider are to make an announcement at 1pm GMT. We understand it's not a "discovery" of the Higgs boson, per se - the conventional threshold for discovery is five normal deviations, a so-called "five-sigma result". Because of this there is only about a one in a million opportunity that your findings will be the result of a stats fluke. But rumours have been flying on the sites around of a three-sigma end result, or a one-in-a-thousand chance of error, that a Higgs result about the 125GeV mark may be spotted. (For a little more info on what a 125GeV Higgs signifies, check out my article from a few weeks in the past.)

We know it's probably gonna be something fairly worthwhile, because, as The Guardian's Ian Test wrote last week, the actual heads of the two investigation groups will be generating the announcement, not necessarily some junior Expert degree student or postdoc.

But the real question is: why is it known as the God particle? It is not a God particle. It's nothing to do with God, with religion, with anything to do with development. Or at least any more compared to any other particle will be.

The name is made by Leon Lederman, a Nobel-Prize-winning physicist, for your title of a publication ("The God Particle: When the Universe Is The Answer, What Is The Question?Inch). But it wasn't just what he wanted to refer to it. Originally he wished to call it the "Goddamn Particle", because "nobody could find the thing" (as outlined by Lederman's one-time postdoc researcher Marcelo Gleiser). But his editor convinced your ex "The God Particle" would offer more copies. We do not know whether that is true, but just what certainly is true will be the name stuck.

Physicists, generally speaking, wish it we had not. Peter Higgs, the School of Edinburgh physicist who first proposed the actual boson's existence, dislikes the particular name: "I find it awkward because, though I am not a believer myself, I think it is the kind of misuse of terminology that i think might upset some people," they told The Protector three years ago.

More than that, it's misleading. If the LHC was preparing to turn up two years ago, a lot of paranoid people did start to create terrifying doomsday theories about how it would create a black hole and destroy planet earth. A large part of the fear seemed to come from the association with God, and for that reason Armageddon.

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