Thingish Things

My Take on Higgs Boson

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jul• 10•12

I tried to get excited about the Higgs boson. I really did. I’m sure it’s a very big deal, and I know a lot of work went into finding the thing. But even with all its hype, I’m ashamed to admit, I just can’t get jazzed up about it.

I hope that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

Every time I hear someone excitedly explain Higgs boson — or try to — I am reminded of the pot-smoking scene in the movie “Animal House” where Pinto (Tom Hulce), transfixed by his fingertips, asks his mod professor (Donald Sutherland) in halting astonishment, “OK . . . our whole solar system . . . could be, like . . . one tiny atom in the fingernail of some other giant being?” Sure that kind of thinking is mind-blowing, but then the cops bang on the door.

Higgs boson — aka the “God particle” — is the stuff long theorized to give matter mass. The particle has been a scientific assumption for almost 50 years and the announcement last week is that, finally, it has been proved to exist. More than anything, it was confirmation that scientists for the past five decades haven’t been smoking from the same bong as Pinto.

It’s been described as the “Holy Grail” of science, so I get that the white-lab-coat community is exuberant. But what does it mean to the rest of us?

The rest of this column is available at Newsday Westchester.  Thanks for reading!

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