Physicist says the Higgs boson is far less than what it’s been claimed to be

Elementary particle physicist Victor Stenger writing at The Huffington Post tells us that, at most, “the Higgs contribution to the mass of the universe is less than one part in 2,000.”

Here, much abridged, is Stenger’s explanation of why the Higgs boson does NOT account for all of the universe’s mass:

In all the recent hoopla about the long-sought Higgs boson, you often hear it said that it is responsible for the mass of the universe. This is not true. Assuming it exists, the Higgs boson is actually responsible for only a small fraction of the total mass of the universe.

This is not to say that the Higgs boson is not important. The main role of the Higgs in the standard model of elementary particles is to provide for the symmetry breaking of the unified electroweak force by giving mass to the weak bosons and splitting the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces. It also gives mass to the other elementary particles….

The mass of the universe, however, is not simply the sum of the masses of the elementary particles that constitute matter….

Now, where does that leave Mister Higgs? While the Higgs mechanism gives masses to elementary particles, other processes may contribute to the masses of quarks. I need not get into these. Even if all the mass of a quark comes from the Higgs mechanism, the Higgs contribution to the mass of the universe is less than one part in 2,000.

Ben M., who sent the article, writes:

Darn! We just about had the God particle in our grasp when it turns out to be a false messiah (like Obama?).

Now Victor Stenger is a vicious atheist (see his other articles at HuffPost), a liberal par excellence, so we know he’s not writing as an enemy of materialist science.

Given Stenger’s analysis of the Higgs boson, that it is not as expansive and extensive as we thought, accounting for only a tiny portion of the universe’s mass, should it be rebranded? The “Lesser Deity particle?” Not quite Zeus, more like Apollo in the pantheon of the gods.

LA replies:

No. Apollo is a major god, just below Zeus. We need a very minor god, a god who is just 1/2000th the importance of Zeus. Perhaps Ganymede? The Ganymede particle! That’s the ticket.

From Wikipedia:

In Greek mythology, Ganymede is a divine hero whose homeland was Troy. Homer describes Ganymede as the most beautiful of mortals. In the best-known myth, he is abducted by Zeus, in the form of an eagle, to serve as cup-bearer in Olympus.

The Abduction of Ganymede


Ben M. writes:

Doesn’t this confirm what you’ve stated over and over? An inflated, exaggerated “discovery” that gets trimmed down as time goes by.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 15, 2012 05:53 PM | Send

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