While it has no direct bearing on theology or revelation, the scientific discovery hailed by some as the “God particle” is an important achievement, an astronomer says.
“It is a wonderful piece of science,” said Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, a researcher and spokesman at the Vatican Observatory, in a July 5 interview with CNA.
On July 4, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) publicized results suggesting it had found the elusive “Higgs boson” particle, thought to explain the physical mass of objects in the universe, by means of subatomic experiments carried on at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.
Br. Consolmagno said the apparent discovery of the Higgs boson was a “delight,” particularly given the gradual progress of most physical research, and the resources invested in running the Swiss particle accelerator.
“It is nice to see such a big step occur that everybody can celebrate,” the Vatican astronomer remarked, congratulating the researchers who “finally got something out of the years and time and effort they’ve put into it.”
Although officials at CERN have not definitively claimed to find the particle, the group’s director-general Professor Rolf Heuer said researchers had “observed a new particle consistent with a Higgs boson.”
“As a layman I would now say I think we have it,” Prof. Heuer announced at a press conference in Geneva.
Nicknamed “the God particle” by physicist Leon Lederman, the Higgs boson was postulated by British physicist Peter Higgs during the 1960s, as a necessary component in the “Standard Model” of the universe.