Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Lay Definition of the God Particle

I spent a few hours reading about the confirmation of the God Particle’s existence this week, trying to understand. As one who performed below average in physics classes, I had plenty of difficulty. Nevertheless, I gave myself an A for the effort.
by Charlie Leck

I’m copping an entire Letter to the Editor – as a matter of fact, the Letter of the Day – from today’s issue of the local paper (StarTribune). I hope I don’t get sued for copyright infringement. If I do I’ll plead stupidity and ignorance; and there will be many readers ready to bounce up and support me on that claim. [Here’s where you can find it in the paper.]

The letter, written by Margaret Deharpporte of Eden Prairie, is just too lovely not to be shared. After reading it, I just sat back and said “Amen!” The epistle represents Margaret’s reaction to this week’s news about the confirmation of the God Particle.

I find it somewhat amusing when terms such as "God particle" and "dark matter" are thrown around by physicists ("New evidence for the 'God particle'," July 3) and "Yes, scientists exclaim, there is a 'God particle' Thursday, July 5). It is my guess that such terms mean little to the average person, and I have taken the liberty to use them differently:
Dark matter: Includes all those things that reek of darkness and negativity -- wars, injustices, prejudice, poverty, murder, intolerance of differences, sickness and a lack of reverence for our Earth.
God particle: That spark of decentness in humanity that often is what allows life to be endurable when up against dark matter.
I do believe most persons might relate to those definitions.

I like that. It’s worth thinking about. Thanks to the StarTribune and to Margaret. I wonder if Margaret reads the Margaret and Helen Blog. She should.


I chose to use this famous Michelangelo work as an illustration for this blog post; and, in doing so, I came upon a little blog ( that made this remarkable little comment:

“And besides, it is not Adam or God that is the attraction of Michelangelo's painting. It is the gap between their fingers. Michelangelo could have had God touching Adam's finger. He did not. And all these centuries later, it is the gap that draws us to the painting again and again, and compels our fascination. Although both Adam and his gray-bearded Creator have lost their literal significance, the gap between their fingers -- between the human mind and the unnamable, unknown agency that creates and sustains the universe -- remains as real and as important as ever, even to the most unmystical and atheistic scientist.
                                                                                   [Chet Raymo]

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