The God Particle is a popular nickname given to the subatomic particle called the Higgs boson. It has nothing to do with religion, a faith or a belief system.
Throughout history, there are many references to god like particles. But the Higgs boson is nothing like what you hear in the scripture or the sermons.
The particle is named after the two scientists responsible for the prediction of its existence, Peter Higgs and Satyendranath Bose. Bose was instrumental in defining one of the two basic classes of the subatomic particles.
So why is it called a God particle?
The Higgs-boson particle is considered to be the key subatomic component that gives mass to matter. This is the particle that gives mass to protons and neutrons and is not present in photons. It is a part of the ‘standard particle model’ of physics that attempts to explain different forces at work in the subatomic level. These basic particles make up the matter. Each particle is said to give a specific property.
Peter Higgs was the first person to propose the existence of such a particle. The name stuck after the book ‘The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?’ was published. Higgs, along with François Englert, received the Nobel prize in physics in 2013 for their theoretical prediction of the particle.
Though the original prediction was made in 1965, efforts to confirm its existence started in the 1990s. But the discovery happened once the Large Hadron Collider was functional at the CERN facility in Switzerland.
The initial discovery of Higgs-boson was announced by CERN scientists in July 2012 and confirmation came through in June 2014. The scientists are now focused on getting strong statistical evidence of its properties.
There are no known immediate applications of the Higgs-boson particle. Our understanding of the particle is expected to improve in the next decade.