The God Particle?


This is, apparently, according to the power of Google image search, something to do with the Higgs Boson particle. I have no idea. Is it what the particle looks like? How it works? How it was discovered? Who knows?

But the Higgs Boson – and the CERN Large Hadron Collider – is something that captured our imagination. I remember Year 8s terrified that a black hole would be created and we’d all be sucked into it; Dan Brown used it to create the threat in Angels and Demons; I’ve read quite an academic and esoteric – by which I mean I only understood 48% of it – treatise in which the Dust of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy was compared to the Higgs Boson.

As much as anything, this fear and angst, in my humblest of uneducated opinions – derives from the nickname The God Particle. Could a nickname be more inflammatory? Could science threaten the church in any more obvious way?

And so it was that I genuinely snorted outloud in my car yesterday hearing Radio 4’s Thought For The Day. This is not a common reaction to the sanctified Radio 4’s flagship spiritual reflection. But, according to the Reverend Dr Michael Banner, Leon Lederman was writing a book about the search for the Higgs Boson and was so frustrated by it elusivity that he gave it the title “The God-damned Particle” but his publisher removed the “damned”.

The God-Damned Particle.

A minor piece of censorship that appears to me to have sparked the world’s imagination along very unexpected tangents!


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