Higgs boson - The God Particle

CERN announced today the discovery of a new particle, most probably the Higgs boson.

[Link to the press conference this morning, it actually interesting and quite fun to listen to. It is not all complicated science and about 10 mins in there is a nice description of what the Higgs boson is using an analogy of journalist in a room.]

Peter Higgs work in the 1960s looking into the origins of mass has lead science on a quest to find the Higgs boson. It is a fundamental particle, one of the building blocks of everything else. The problem scientist have had is that the Higgs boson has proved very difficult to find. Today's discovery while not really understood by most of us, is another step forward in understanding our universe. The prime minister said today, "This is a great breakthrough, one that could be profoundly significant to our understanding of the universe and the fundamental laws that govern it." Peter Higgs was at the conference in CERN today, it must be an amazing day for the 83 year old.

The media have nicknamed the Higgs boson, the God Particle. This is based on a book written a few years ago called, The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? The book was a popular science book on particle physics and described sciences search to prove or disprove the existence of the Higgs Boson. I quite liked the Higgs Boson Wikipedia Entry about why the author Leon Lederman gave it that nickname. 
Lederman said he gave it the nickname "The God Particle" because the particle is "so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive," but jokingly added that a second reason was because "the publisher wouldn't let us call it the Goddamn Particle, though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing."
I find it interesting that popular culture still wants to link the science and God, either to prove or disprove Gods existence. One of the questions I heard asked on the radio today was "Does this prove God doesn't exist?" Science and religion have had there differences, the way the church treated Galileo wasn't good at all, but science and God don't contradict each other. As a Christian studying the world and the universe we live in, the universe God's hands created, can only lead us closer to God. If you have no faith, or an active faith in the non-existence of God, then I find it difficult to understand why you would look to science to prove your belief in the absence of God. I particularly like a quote from Johannes Kepler a 17th century astronomer and mathematician, who mapped the orbital paths the planets take round the sun, who said of his work, "It's like thinking God's thoughts after him."

Science and faith give us answers to different questions. Science is working hard on the question, How are we here? It's up to you and you relationship with God to discover Why you are here.

I want to end this post with my favourite tweet of the day:
"So glad the Higgs boson has been found. I presume someone has been praying to St Anthony, the patron saint of lost things."

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