The Goddamn Particle

The Goddamn Particle—that is, the “Higgs Boson” that functions as the glue holding our material reality together—was finally discovered in July a dozen years ago. Leon Lederman famously referred to the Higgs as the “Goddamn Particle,” but his publisher resisted the moniker and pushed him to name his book “The God Particle” instead. As Lederman put it, ‘‘We managed to offend two groups, those that believed in god and those that didn’t. We were warmly received by those in the middle.’’ Watch the conversation between Janna Levin and physicists Sean Carroll and Melissa Franklin that details how the particle keeps our theories hanging together, and why a multi-billion dollar machine was built in Switzerland just to find it. ♦

Scientific Controversies brings together two scientists in conversation to explore unsolved quandaries. The focus is on ideas and the unknown, the precipice between where we are now and where we imagine the future will bring us.