Higgs boson, the elusive subatomic particle considered a crucial building block of the universe, has finally been confirmed by CERN physicists. Scientists predicted the particle's existence back in 1964 and now apparently have proof, although they're still debating what kind of Higgs boson it is they've uncovered. According to an article on USA Today, "The particle's existence helps confirm the theory that objects gain their size and shape when particles interact in an energy field with a key particle, the Higgs boson. The more they attract, so the the theory goes, the bigger their mass will be."
The Higgs boson particle's unfortunate nickname of "The God Particle" is causing a slew of amusing comments on social media. (Search #higgsboson on twitter to see what I mean.) Where did the nickname come from? American physicist Leon Lederman explained in his book The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question?, "This boson is so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive, that I have given it a nickname: the God Particle. Why God Particle? […] the publisher wouldn’t let us call it the Goddamn Particle, though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing…" Pretty funny considering how many people are stirred up.
Physicists dislike the nickname, making it seem much more important than it really is, though the actual real-world impact is significant for the scientific community, from validating the Standard Model, to insight into the nature of the universe and its possible fates. Wikipedia has a pretty hefty explanation of these.
Since detecting the particle is a very rare event—it takes around a trillion collisions of protons for each observed event—think of how many people were involved in the recording and analyzing of all that data. Their persistence is finally paying off by having this tiny (reeeealllly tiny) particle's existence confirmed. You know they're geeking out at CERN, patting each other on the back. Nerds rule!
Thanks for reading,
Good juju-spreader, storyteller, graphic designer. I'd love to hear from you!