SCOTS scientist Professor Peter Higgs has urged the public to stop calling the Higgs boson the “God particle” – because he is an atheist.
The scientist came up with the theory of a sub-atomic particle, since dubbed the Higgs boson, which would explain the mystery of how things have mass.
But he wants people to stop referring to it as the “God particle” because he does not believe the particle holding the physical fabric of the universe together is the work of an almighty creator.
Prof Higgs, 83, who lives in Edinburgh, said: “First of all, I’m an atheist. The second thing is, I know that name was a kind of joke and not a very good one. I think he shouldn’t have done that as it’s so misleading.”
The phrase, an allusion to the particle’s importance and elusiveness, was coined for a popular science book from 1993 by Leon Lederman, a Nobel prize-winning physicist, and Dick Teresi, a science writer.
In the book God particle, Lederman writes: “Why God particle? The publisher wouldn’t let us call it the Goddamn particle.”
Higgs has become a global celebrity over the past year since the discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson, which he predicted in 1964.