It has been reported this week that scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have increased their levels of certainty that they have found the Higgs boson. Where does this mysterious particle fit into our picture of the universe? In Thinking Faith, Former particle physicist, Fr Andrew Pinsent, explains the science behind the discovery of the Higgs and introduces us to some of the most crucial figures in the centuries of research upon which its prediction was based.
After nearly fifty years of work, the construction of the most complex research machines in history and the strenuous efforts of tens of thousands of scientists, two experimental collaborations at the CERN laboratory announced on 4 July 2012 the ‘probable’ discovery of the Higgs boson, the missing piece of the so-called Standard Model of physics.
As this particle is sometimes called the ‘God Particle,’ thanks to the title of a popular science book, and since it gives other particles their mass, various Catholic-themed Higgs jokes have been circulating. In reality, the discovery of this boson has no obvious implications for theology. Indeed, if any particle were to be called the ‘God particle,’ the photon, the particle of light, would probably be a far stronger candidate. Nevertheless, since this discovery is a major milestone it is worth reviewing its implications for the human quest to understand life, the universe and everything.
To read more of Fr Andrew's piece see: http://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20120803_1.htm