While American physicists today offer more tantalizing evidence that the Higgs boson exists, the term journalists once loved to call it, the "God particle," is going out of fashion. Speaking at the Moriond Physics Conference in Italy, scientists from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (above) say that after flinging a proton and antiproton together on a four-mile track, they noticed a bump in their data could signal the particle's existence, confirming earlier results in December from European colleagues. Wired explains the science better than we ever could:
Scientists in charge of the two detectors on Fermilab’s Tevatron particle collider, CDF and DZero, announced that they have seen a small excess of events between 115 and 135 GeV that could correspond to the mysterious Higgs
In short, though scientists, with their typical hesitation, are saying nothing has been proven, it's another step closer to knowing that the Higgs boson is real. It's the last undiscovered particle in the Standard Model, the theory reputed to explain the behavior of particles, which has led to the media to dubbing it the "God particle," even though scientists resent the name. "I hate that “God particle’ term," one member of the CERN team in Europe said last December. "The Higgs is not endowed with any religious meaning. It is ridiculous to call it that."
So it's interesting to see reports today abstain from using the term. Wired, The New York Times, and the BBC did not use it once, whereas the latter two were using it back just last December. (The AP and Reuters today did not get the memo.) It's nice to see hints of the often tenuous relationship between scientists and reporters ease. Or at least the copy editors are listening.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.