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What Is a Higgs Boson and Why Is It Called the God Particle?

Updated on April 13, 2015
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Ms. Clark has a solid appreciation for hard science and likes to share interesting things she learns in the course of her research.

Scientists have recently made a huge announcement. They are all but certain they have discovered the existence of the Higgs Boson.

An organization called CERN in its abbreviated form, located in Geneva Switzerland built the world’s biggest super collider (atom smasher), technically known as Large Hadron Collider or LHC. Construction of the particle accelerator took from 1998 until 2008 and cost in the vicinity of 7 billion dollars. Yes, with a B!

The purpose of this collider was to make it possible for scientists to recreate the same conditions that they believe existed immediately after the “Big Bang.”

As you know, the “Big Bang” is what scientists believe created the universe. One should of course keep in mind that the Big Bang is a theory, and not a proven fact, although many scientists like to promote it as fact.

Where and How Scientists Are Attempting to Recreate the Aftermath Of the Big Bang They Believe Created Our Universe

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator is inside a tunnel outlined in this photo.  The tunnel is 17 miles long an 574 feet below ground.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator is inside a tunnel outlined in this photo. The tunnel is 17 miles long an 574 feet below ground. | Source
Representation of the collision of particles inside the collider.
Representation of the collision of particles inside the collider. | Source
Inside part of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland.
Inside part of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland. | Source

What Is CERN? What Does CERN Hope to Accomplish With LHC?

CERN is the European Organization For Nuclear Research. That official name does not match the abbreviation because the abbreviation comes from the French name for this organization: Consell Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire. CERN was founded in 1952.

According to The Telegraph, scientists hope the LHC “will answer the question of what causes mass, or even surprise its creators by revealing the existence of a fifth, sixth or seventh secret dimension of time and space.”

Why Recreate the Immediate Aftermath of the Big Bang?

Physicists have discovered most of the building blocks, as they refer to them, that make up our world as we know it. However, with all they have learned about how our world is made and how it works, they had not, until recently, determined what caused or created mass.

The discovery that the Higgs Boson does exist along with proving the Higgs theory will also confirm much of the Standard Model physicists have been using as a fundamental way of understanding Nature, or our world and how it works.

Other than validating the Standard Model, no one seems to know what other advantages may be gained from this discovery, but it is usually common for advantages and properties of new discoveries to unfold over time once the new discovery is made.

Without mass everything would be weightless energy. Not only weightless, but the tiny particles that make up our bodies and everything ‘solid’ in our universe would not stick together without mass. I guess that means our consciousness, that part of us that makes us who we are, would be floating around with no body. That is, if our consciousness can even exist without a body.

Without mass, we would not have bodies and the material things in our environment would not exist. Obviously mass does exist and scientists have been trying to figure out and understand what makes mass exist.

Scientists believe Higgs Bosons were created as the dust was settling, so to speak, after the Big Bang, and that the Higgs Bosons combining with other specific particles are what give certain things mass in the universe.

Scientists believed that once they succeeded in discovering the Higgs Boson, they would make leaps forward in better understanding the universe. It will amount to finding a missing piece to the puzzle. Well, scientists now believe that has happened.

What Is a Higgs Boson and Why Is It Sometimes Referred to As the God Particle?

The boson is a particle similar to an atom.

The reason the Higgs Boson particle is sometimes called the God Particle is because back in 1993 a physicist named Leon Lederman wrote a science book that turned out to be very popular, and he named his book, “The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?” The particle referred to in the title of the book is the Higgs Boson.

Peter Higgs is the scientist who came up with the hypothesis of the particle that gives objects mass and so the existence of the particle that he hypothesized is named after him.

CERN scientists say that the particle really has nothing at all to do with God and that the nickname was just a “snappy” name that was given to the particle to indicate the importance of the Higgs Boson’s purpose.

Please watch the videos included here because they will do a much better job than I can, of explaining the Higgs Bosom, the Higgs Bosom Field, and how the particle accelerator (LHC) is being used to conduct these experiments. They will also explain why the Higgs Boson matters.

© 2012 C E Clark

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    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 14 months ago from North Texas

      Colorful one, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. I try to write educational pieces about things I think people should know. Glad you enjoyed!

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 14 months ago from Minnesota

      I had not heard of a Higgs Boson, the title of the hub got me curious right away. Very good lesson you have shared and skillfully written. Its good to learn something new and I did.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 22 months ago from North Texas

      Taranwanderer, thank you for coming by and commenting! Glad you liked!

    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 22 months ago

      This was a great introduction to Higgs physics and the mass field. I found the videos especially informative, but the writing was quite good too. Thanks for taking the time - I have one on my own page, in fact - https://hubpages.com/education/The-Higgs-Boson-Unc...

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 23 months ago from North Texas

      Shyron, thank you for appreciating all my work, and for the votes and the share! Blessings and hugs for you both . . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 23 months ago

      Au fait, this is such an awesome hub, I came back to share it again, voted up, UABI.

      The research it took to write this is amazing.

      I hope that all is well with you.

      Blessings and Hugs always.

      Shyron

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 23 months ago from North Texas

      Paigesvoice, thank you for attempting to make sense of this article! ;) Did you at least understand why it's called the God Particle? I think I'm the only writer who has actually answered that question correctly and I went straight to the people who discovered that particle to get the answer.

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 23 months ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      This is most definitely way above my pay grade. I think there are some occurrences that happen and happened that we will never really know the answer to. For me, that's okay because it becomes too big for me to wrap my head around. All kidding aside, I actually do start to get a headache when I dwell on this subject for too long.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 23 months ago from North Texas

      Phyllis Doyle, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this article! So glad you enjoyed. For more enlightenment I highly recommend another of my articles, "The Super Collider That Was Almost in Texas & Why the U.S. Did Not Discover the Higgs Boson God Particle." Appreciate your taking time to read.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 23 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Wow ! I guess have been floating around somewhere - I never heard of the Higgs Boson. This is very interesting, Au Fait.

      John Merrill brought up some good thoughts about dimensions and whether we can go back and forth in them. I believe there are parallel dimensions we could at least get a glimpse or awareness of.

      That atom smasher CERN is playing with is rather scary. Some things are better left alone, IMHO.

      Thanks for writing this hub and enlightening me on this information. Great hub, Au Fait.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Peachpurple, thank you for coming by. Now you should be able to tell anyone who asks, the real reason the Higgs Boson is referred to as the God Particle. :)

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      very well explained, something to learn today, thanks

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      poetryman6969, thank you for checking out this article! It does seem to intimidate some people. I think somebody's military is more likely to destroy the whole world than scientists are, however in the Bible, God says He will destroy the earth with fire in the end, and man will not destroy it, despite his best efforts.

      Because of God's words I never worry about nuclear weapons, etc. I know they could still destroy my corner of the world even if not the whole world, but a lot of things can destroy one or a few people's worlds, and an idiot is as likely to do it as anybody else. Probably more likely . . .

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      Au fait I am very impressed by how many folks you got to comment on such a complex issue. As long as the scientist manage not to destroy our little corner of the universe, bring on the science!

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      DeborahDian, thank you for reading and commenting on this article! I hope you learned why the particle is called the 'God Particle' because my article is the only one that answers that question accurately. I'm so glad if you were able to understand the concepts presented because they are very complicated.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 2 years ago from Orange County, California

      This is such fascinating information. As always, you are well informed and share complex scientific information in a way that anyone can understand. Well done and well worth sharing!

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Nadine May, thank you for coming by and sharing your thoughts!

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      A very interesting article, and yes I do know that our consciousness can exist without a body. I've had several out-of-body experiences when I was a child and in my twenties. They freaked me out then, but over many years while I was driven to find out what had happened to me, today I understand that its TIME that makes us belief this reality is real.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Tobusiness, thank you for taking the time to comment on this article and for sharing your excitement at these new developments!

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you for stopping by Shyron. This hub has been unidled for some reason. I thought it was interesting to discover how the particle got its names. I went straight to the source to find out, so anyone who says differently is pulling your leg and hasn't done their research.

      Hope you're feeling well and that you were able to stop the headache from progressing. Blessings to you and John also. Hope he will soon be better.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      For me, even the idea of the Hadron Collider is fascinating, If scientists can manage to identify and manipulate the Higgs field, this will have some interesting implications for time travel, black holes and dark matter. Will the world finally give up its secrets? I hope so. Simply awesome!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

      I came back to share this again, I was afraid that HP had unpublished this when I could not find it right away. Very good explanation on why it's called the God particle.

      This is an important hub.

      Blessings my Dear friend.

      Shyron

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Rozalyn Winters, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. I love science too, and learning about all the new discoveries that are being made.

    • profile image

      Rozalyn Winters 2 years ago

      Thanks for the informative article--I'm fascinated by the Higgs Boson as well as the particle accelerator at CERN. I think we will gain an amazing understanding about how the universe works using it.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you Peggy W, for pinning and tweeting this hub!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This will be another perfect hub to pin to my "Do you know this?" board. You do seem to come up with the most interesting subjects! Many of your hubs are featured in this category. :) Will also tweet this!

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you for sharing moonlake! This is a bit of a complicated subject, but I hope it was more understandable after reading this hub.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      I came back to share your hub with my followers.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you Aunt Jimi for reading and commenting on this hub, and for sharing your thoughts!

    • Aunt Jimi profile image

      Aunt Jimi 3 years ago from The reddest of the Red states!

      Some good videos that explain how the Higgs Boson works, and the first explanation I've seen about why this thing is called the God Particle that seems to have any accuracy.

      Love when these scientists say 'it has nothing to do with God," etc., because everything in the universe including the universe itself has something to do with God. He made it!

      Enjoyed learning something new and sharing. Up and all.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you Maralexa, for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub! I do intend to continue writing on these subjects even though they are not nearly so well received as the 'lighter' hubs.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you livingsta, for reading, commenting, and especially for sharing this hub!

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you Paul Kuehn for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub, and especially for sharing, pinning, etc.! I'm glad you enjoyed.

      You might also like my hub "Is Science Capable of Proving God exists or Does Not Exist? -- Did You Know There Is No Such Thing as Gravity?" The hub is mainly about science and explains Einstein's Theory of Gravity, which is very different from what you and I and everyone learned in school, and are still learning in school so far as I know.

      The religious part of the hub is very brief compared to the overall hub and pretty well confined to a small area of the hub.

      Thanks again . . .

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      Absolutely fascinating article, Au fait! I not only learn from your articles, I am motivated by them to learn more. I am particularly interested in new dimensions. I hope you will continue to write on these issues. Voted up and awesome.

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very interesting information shared here. Thank you, voting and sharing!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      aufait,

      This is a very useful, interesting, and thought-provoking hub. I especially enjoyed the last video which was very educational. Science and certainly theoretical physics has advanced a lot since I last studied it in the early and mid 60s. Voted up, shared with followers and on Facebook, and Pinned.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Brett.Tesol, thank you for reading, commenting, tweeting, pinning, and sharing this hub! In my hub called, "The Super Collider That Was Almost in Texas & Why the U.S. Did Not Discover the Higgs Boson God Particle," I talk about that very thing. As it happens, my husband at the time was scheduled to work on that project and then it was canceled. Read all about it in the above hub.

      Thank you for your high compliment of "awesome!"

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      A very interesting article. I remember that there were quite a lot of fears and concerns about this experiment, as many thought that they may 'accidentally' actually recreate the big bang lol. Although it wouldn't have been that extreme, I bet there were some nerves at the first test run lol.

      Hopefully the new discoveries will lead to positive changes in the future.

      Shared, pinned, tweeted, up and awesome.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      sgbrown, thank you for checking this hub out and voting, etc. It will be interesting to see how this Higgs Boson discovery will play out over the next 50 years.

    • Au fait profile image
      Author

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you moonlake, for commenting on this hub. Glad you enjoyed and hope if nothing else you now understand why the Higgs Boson is sometimes referred to as the God Particle and why it is known as the Higgs Boson. The Higgs Boson and it's importance is a pretty challenging subject to be sure. I spent days trying to make sense of it, and I finally got a bit of understanding.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      TToombs08, thanks for stopping by!

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      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I think back to 50 years ago, what little we knew! It makes one wonder what we will know 50 years in the future! Very interesting article! Voted up and more! :)

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Enjoyed your hub so very interesting. Voted up and shared.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Exciting stuff, Au fait! :)

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Peggy W, thank you for reading, commenting, voting and sharing this hub! I thought the videos could explain the theories far better than I could. Hope they were helpful to you.

      I loved StarTrek, and yes it is amazing how some science fiction writers seem to be able to see the future of gadgets that do amazing things! Agree with what you said about going where no man has ever gone before too! ;)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What an interesting article about very scientific theories being tested at enormous costs. Hopefully it will help mankind. The videos explained more of this hard to completely understand concept. Thanks for the science lesson! Up votes and sharing.

      Isn't it interesting that writers of science fiction seem to make use of theories prior to scientists ever validating them. As a Star Trec fan of some years, I like the idea of being able to go "where no man has ever gone before." :))

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you for such high praise Shyron. Glad you enjoyed this hub. It was pretty interesting to research too!

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you John Merrill. Glad I could help. I researched the issue and got the skinny straight from CERN who started calling the Higgs Boson the God Particle.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

      you are welcome, this hub so interesting Voting you up, awesome and interesting.

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      John Merrill 4 years ago

      Came back to check a couple of things. Yours is the only article I've found that explains the why the Higgs Boson is called the God Particle. Other people who have written on this subject seem to use their imagination, but you have the facts. Thanks.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you for reading and commenting Shyron.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you for stopping by Jen, and for adding some interesting thoughts to the subject. ;)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

      Love your hub, I think maybe the Higgs bosons is called God particles because of Genesin 3:19, in this bible verse it states: from dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

      Like your paragraph about our consciousness, I don't think it is made up of particles/Higgs bosons, so it must live on.

      Great Hub.

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      Jen 4 years ago

      Your article told me why it is called the God Particle, and the videos were really helpful in explaining the Higgs Boson, but I think I will have to watch them a few more times.

      How can this particle have nothing to do with God when God made it and everything else in the world? I appreciate knowing why they call it the God particle anyway, and I'll work on watching those videos and trying to understand how that little particle sticks to things to make them have mass.

      Do you think the reason some people may be overweight is because they have too many Higgs bosons? I'm just joking with you. Really enjoy your hubs.

    • Au fait profile image
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      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Thank you for your comments John. I supposed technically, if we are made up of Higgs Bosons that can go in and out of existence as we know it, then we might be able to figure out a way to do the same. Just conjecture on my part. An interesting concept, and it will be interesting to see if new dimensions will be discovered over time.

    • profile image

      John Merrill 4 years ago

      Very good explanation. Now I know why it's called the God particle. That last video was pretty helpful too. So I'm wondering, if the Higgs can go in and out of existence,, does that mean we could figure out a way to do that too? Maybe pop in and out of different dimensions or even go back or forward in time?

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