PLEASE don’t call it “the God particle”
Let me make a plea to all science journalist out there:
Please don’t call it “the God particle”!
That name was invented by Leon Lederman, very much tongue-in-cheek, back in 1993 when he published a rather good popular science book. Leon is an nobel prize winner and devoted much of his life to improving math and science education in the US. His talks were clever and witty and this “God Particle” terminology is meant to be full of irony.
To be clear: the Higgs boson has nothing to do with divinity – neither does any other particle of the standard model and whatever lies beyond. No one I know believes that the Higgs boson has any direct impact on theology or religion, and in fact, we all hate the term as being irritating at best and embarrassing at worst.
When journalists employ this term, they deviate from good science reporting toward sensationalism. They know that segments of the general population will be drawn into the article, most likely with less than positive attitudes toward the term.
So don’t do it! Stick with “the Higgs boson” or some term that physicists use, please.
For thoughtful commentary on this same issue, see the blog post from Claire Evans, from which the image above comes.