God particle’ — a particularly recalcitrant subatomic particle that supposedly helps explain how the universe acquired mass and could in principle, therefore, explain how decay takes place — was discovered by a team of scientists in early July in Geneva, nations and individuals have competed with claims of its originality or nationality or both.
The Indian scientific establishment has trumpeted Satyendra Nath Bose, the man who lends his name to the Higgs boson particle, which is a forerunner of the ‘God particle’ itself. There is also Jogesh Pati, a US scientist of Indian origin, who, along with Pakistani scientistAbdus Salam, worked on quarks and leptons. Steven Weinberg of the US, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979, along with Salam, for their work on the unified theory of weak and magnetic forces, has just written an article in The New York Times.
In fact, Salam and Weinberg had, as long ago as 1967-1968, identified all the properties of the Higgs boson, except its mass, in theirelectroweak theory. So, in early July, when the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva discovered the ‘new electrically neutral, unstable particle’ that was supposed to be the missing link in understanding how the universe was first created — the God particle — the news was naturally treated with the excitement usually reserved for a Rolling Stones concert.