Scientific Controversies
No. 3: The Goddamn Particle

Citizens worldwide have tried to pronounce “Higgs Boson,” the name of the particle that glues the pieces in the puzzle of our material reality. The Higgs was found, Nobel prizes were awarded, and the discovery was both a disappointment (is there nothing more?) and a triumph (they did it!). The particle physicist Leon Lederman famously referred to the Higgs as the “Goddamn Particle,” a moniker his publisher resisted so that his book was titled “The God Particle.” Unfortunately the flourish has stuck. We prefer the original. We’ll discuss the Goddamn Particle, how it keeps every thing and our theories hanging together, and why we built a multi-billion dollar machine in Switzerland just to find it.