Scottish physicist Peter Higgs says he’s sorry the Higgs boson was ever called the “God Particle.” He’s an atheist. But the term helps the rest of us understand just how important the Higgs boson is to understanding how the universe works the way it does—in fact, how it is that we all exist.
The Higgs boson is a particle that was finally discovered last year by the multi-billion dollar Hadron Collider on the border of France and Switzerland. 1500 Higgs bosons were found in the debris of some 2000 trillion collisions of larger particles. Peter Higgs shared yesterday’s Nobel Prize with Francois Englert for having theorized that there must be such a thing back in 1964. Lisa Randall is Professor of Physics at Harvard and author of Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space and Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World.