The Higgs-Boson Particle: That Which We Call a Rose

by A. Jay Adler on March 8, 2012
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So physicists it seems, both at Tevatron and CERN‘s Large Hadron Collider, may be closing in on the Higgs-Boson, or “God,” particle. Except, it seems, that many scientists are unhappy about that nickname.

“I hate that “God particle’ term,” one member of the CERN team in Europe said last December. “The Higgs is not endowed with any religious meaning. It is ridiculous to call it that.”

Well, since “endowment” requires an endower, clearly the particle is not endowed with any greater than physical meaning by said CERN team member. The inclination by some to refer to Higgs-Boson as the God Particle is that it is the long hypothesized particle that accounts for the mass – one might say the is – in matter. However, back in May 2010, I nominated the neutral B-meson, as the God Particle.

A metaphor. In particle physics. In fact, scientists, and science writers, use metaphor all the time. But is it mere metaphor? Well, metaphor is only “mere” to those who merely look at the window that metaphor provides on the world, rather than through the metaphorical window. Trillions of times a second, for reasons researchers have yet to discover, this “strange particle” vacillates between yes and no, between thesis and antithesis – and the nothing that is neither in equal balance. Commonly, it has been the hypothetical Higgs boson particle to which scientists have referred as the “God particle,” for reasons you can read about here.

But in the neutral B-meson, it appears, we have existence – something (as in why is there?) – in the balance. “God,” as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe did not say first, “is in the details.” At the Big Bang instant of creation, God or what passes for it, infinitely compacted and massive, like a great in and intro-verted Bodhisattva contemplating its contemplation, verges on the edge of creation: to matter or not to matter. To be or not to be. Back, forth, back, forth in its contemplative, inertial mass.

And one percent more often than not, the Big Bang Bodhisattva pauses on “to be.” And we exist.

We barely got out alive.

Thank God.

 

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2 comments

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charlie k March 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm

No one’s gettin’ out alive!

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