Search This Blog

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Higgs Boson

Peter Higgs is such a gentleman. It was so like him, I thought, to make that frank public acknowledgement of my crucial role in positing the existence of the particle that now bears his name. (I say nothing of the corresponding silence from Englert.) But while we celebrate Peter's triumph, a mood of introspective melancholy pervades the mind. Fame is so transitory, so ephemeral. Who now remembers dear old Bose, the man after whom all bosons are named?  Indeed, what tiny fraction of the public today would know the profoundly mystifying differences that set bosons apart from fermions, or would understand that we and the entirety of our universe are composed of just those two families of particles? I wonder what it says of our values, that we drum into the heads of our children random religious ideas, partisan interpretations of history, and all sorts of other nonsense, leaving them ignorant of the splendours of the fundamental properties of matter.

I am often asked whether 'Higgs-Sushing' would be the rightful name for the boson that has been so recently identified by the physicists at CERN. And always a plain 'No' is my inscrutable answer. I could explain further, but it's better leaving things as they stand, however unjust that might be. 'Sushing-Higgs' is such a mouthful.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The words on this page are those of Professor Essay den Sushing. Google accepts no liability whatever for the consequences of those words however so caused.