Mixed feelings over new particle

2012-07-04 14:53

New Delhi - The release on Wednesday of dramatic new data pointing to the existence of the Higgs boson "God particle" sent a special flutter of pride, mixed with frustration, through India's scientific community.

The "Higgs" of Higgs boson is well known to refer to Peter Higgs, the British researcher who in 1964 laid much of the conceptual groundwork for the presence of the elusive particle.

What is largely unknown, at least to non-specialists, is that the term "boson" owes its name to the pioneering work of the late Indian physicist, Satyendra Nath Bose.

Born during British colonial rule in 1894 in Calcutta (now Kolkata), Bose was a lecturer at both the universities of Calcutta and Dhaka.

In 1924, he sent a paper to Albert Einstein describing a statistical model that eventually led to the discovery of what became known as the Bose-Einstein condensate phenomenon.

The paper laid the basis for describing the two fundamental classes of sub-atomic particles - bosons, named after Bose, and fermions, after the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi.

While several Nobel prizes have been awarded research related to the concepts of the boson, Bose himself was never honoured by the Nobel academy.

Archan Majumdar, an astrophysicist at the eponymous Satyendra Nath Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences in Kolkata, said Bose's name would be better known if his discoveries hadn't been made during the colonial era.

"If India had been an independent nation he could have got more recognition than he has," Majumdar said.

"Also, if he had the Nobel prize which he deserved more than many others he would have been more known, but unfortunately it didn't happen."

In 1954 Bose awarded the Padma Vibhushan - India's second highest civilian honour. He died in 1974.

  • gordon.turner.37 - 2012-07-04 15:06

    And if the British had not been in India, he would not have been a physicist. Celebrate the man, don't bother trying to rewrite history.

      Tim - 2012-07-04 15:25

      India was at the forefront in the sciences,mathematics,astronomy etc long before the British occupation!!

      alan.gernet - 2012-07-04 16:04

      Samoosa achievement!

      jeffrey.jones.357 - 2012-07-04 16:08

      @Tim, India indeed did have a time when they were the leaders in mathematics etc., however, that "golden era" was long gone before the British arrived in India.

      wesleywt - 2012-07-04 16:21

      No Tim No.

      DonaldMathrayPerumal - 2012-07-04 22:35

      Idiot Science was around in India during Asoka's time,long before Colonial Rule!Many discoveries were made and many western scientists visited India to learn about them.

  • jeffrey.mnisi - 2012-07-04 15:13

    does he deserve any honour, who was behind all this honorary accolades.

      Press - 2012-07-04 15:36

      probably the same guys that didnt award a nobel prize to Higgs (who's almost 30 year old theory that explains why we have mass and can exist just happened to be experimentally verified today)

  • francoisvandyk - 2012-07-04 15:26

    News24 - so many grammatical errors in this piece?

  • Tim - 2012-07-04 15:35

  • - 2012-07-04 15:40

    So these are mixed feelings about the NAME, not the particle itself! Typical News24.

  • eric.martinsich - 2012-07-04 15:41

    "GOD's Particle" ????

      jeffrey.jones.357 - 2012-07-04 16:12

      @Eric "God particle".

  • fceloff - 2012-07-04 15:56

    The name "God particle" probably refer to the fact that it's existence was known but could not be proven, until now.

      wesleywt - 2012-07-04 16:22

      No, its the press name for the a particle that confers mass to particles.

      skootzie - 2012-07-04 17:06

      The Higgs boson is often referred to as the "God particle" by the media,[76] after the title of Leon Lederman's popular science book on particle physics, The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?[77][78] While use of this term may have contributed to increased media interest,[78] many scientists dislike it, since it overstates the particle's importance, not least since its discovery would still leave unanswered questions about the unification of quantum chromodynamics, the electroweak interaction, and gravity, as well as the ultimate origin of the universe.[76][79] Lederman said he gave it the nickname "The God Particle" because the particle is "so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive,"[76][77][80] but jokingly added that a second reason was because "the publisher wouldn't let us call it the Goddamn Particle, though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing."[77] Source:

  • rachell.lass - 2012-07-04 18:57

    I do wish you wouldn't call it the "god particle". It has NOTHING to do with any gods. It's science.

      skootzie - 2012-07-04 21:04

      Read my above comment Rachell; "God Particle" is a misnomer that the media has latched on to.

      DonaldMathrayPerumal - 2012-07-05 08:03

      They call it the "God Particle" to emphasize exactly what you are saying!

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