Anxiously awaiting God Particle news

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 4, 2012

While folks are grilling, watching fireworks and enjoying the Fourth of July, it is expected scientists will announce they are closer to identifying the “God Particle.”

Well, isn’t that enough to, for a minute, grab attention from that burger and firecrackers?

It’s quantum physics — something that fascinates me and has for a while. In childhood I fancied becoming a scientist so maybe that is where the interest originates.

Anyway, in the 1990s, I stumbled onto a book, “The God Particle: If the Universe is the Question, What is the Answer?” I remember sitting on the beach reading, trying to get my head around what author Leon Lederman was trying to help me understand.

So, what is the God particle quantum physicists think they may have found? That gets complicated, and by the way, Lederman, who coined the term with his book, didn’t like the name God Particle, but it stuck.

An ABC News story describes it this way: “After decades of careful experiment, physicists say they have found the “strongest indication to date” to prove the existence of the Higg Boson (named after Peter Higgs, an Edinburgh University physicist) — a subatomic particle so important to the understanding of space, time and matter that the physicist Leon Lederman nicknamed it the “God Particle.”

I know this takes some thinking about and is hard to get your head around. Anyway, here is a bit more of an explanation.

“Shortly after the big bang, it is thought that many particles had no mass, but became heavy later on thanks to the Higgs field. Any particles that interact with this field are given mass. The Higgs boson is the signature particle of the field.

“Physicists say the Higgs boson would help explain how we, and the rest of the universe, exist. It would explain why the matter created in the Big Bang has mass, and is able to coalesce. Without it … “the universe would be a very different place…. no ordinary matter as we know it, no chemistry, no biology, and no people.”

No people — guess that explains why this particle is important. What is equally interesting to me is our desire, our need to find it. One story I read said it is the search for an answer to the question, where do we come from?

I know that stirs up a religious debate about creation and I don’t want to open that can of worms on a sunny July 4th. However, as I said, it is interesting humans have this interest in asking about our origin, and I am fascinated by the “science” that is seeking the answer.

So, the expected announcement about searching for and possibly finding evidence of the God Particle caught my attention. It also stirred other questions quantum physicists can’t answer by running subatomic pieces into each other in a giant super collider.

Perhaps for me, more important than where we come from is, why are we here? And, what do we do with our time while we are here?

Now I’m no scientist or physicist, but I have my theory about the answer to those questions. Well, actually one word answers both — kindness.

My theory is we are here to learn about kindness — kindness towards ourselves and toward others we encounter on this journey we call living. Then, as we learn about kindness, we begin practicing what we learn by choosing to be kind in all we think, say and do.

I know there might not be a scientific method for proving my theory and if there were, I doubt it would get the attention of today’s announcement about the illusive God Particle.

True, my kindness theory might not explain space, time and matter, but giving it a try might make our lives happier and more peaceful while we wait to learn more from science about how we got here in the first place.