CERN – Editorial Footnote


But where did He put the thing?





Is there, or isn’t there, a God particle?

Most physicists believe there is, but reports of its appearance are probably premature.

A spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN, was busy last week lowering expectations after a memo was leaked that suggested scientists may have discovered the long-sought Higgs boson.

The Higgs boson is an elementary particle that, according to physicists’ Standard Model, should exist. But no one has yet detected one.

Not, mind you, for lack of trying.

Since CERN opened its Large Hadron Collider two years ago, scientists have been smashing particles together in efforts to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson. If they find one — when they find one, many scientists might say — the Higgs is expected to tie up many a loose end in our understanding of matter, to help humans better understand what makes the stuff all around us, well, the stuff all around us.

The CERN spokesman cautions that once the peer review process has scrutinized the latest results, the God particle is probably going to slip away once more.

We’ll trust the experts on this one, because our grasp of physics is what we think of as our standard model — some clues, to be sure, but not all that deep.


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