Name change called for 'Higgs boson' to acknowledge other scientists

Last Updated: Tue, Apr 23, 2013 07:43 hrs

London: Some leading scientists have launched a campaign to rename the elusive Higgs boson, also called 'God particle', claiming that UK physicist Peter Higgs does not deserve all the credit for the breakthrough discovery.

American Prof Carl Hagen who helped develop the theory of the Higgs boson believes the name should acknowledge the work of others - not just Peter Higgs.

The long-running debate resurfaced following speculation that this year's Nobel Prize for Physics will be awarded for the Higgs theory.

The detection of a particle thought to be the Higgs was announced at the Large Hadron Collider in June last year.

Prof Hagen told BBC News that he's always thought that the name was not a proper one.

Prof Peter Higgs developed a theory of how other sub-atomic particles came to have substance, or mass, and published his work in 1964.

However, other researchers independently came up with similar ideas and they, along with Prof Higgs, have long argued for the name of the particle to be changed.

People have spoken of key contributions being made by Francois Englert, Peter Higgs, Gerald Guralnik, Tom Kibble, Robert Brout and Carl Hagen. Five spoke at a press conference last year to announce the discovery of a particle thought to be the Higgs, but it was only Prof Higgs who received a huge round of applause from the researchers present.

"Peter Higgs was treated as something of a rock star and the rest of us were barely recognised by most of the audience. It was clear that Higgs was the dominant name because of the fact his name has become associated with the boson," Prof Hagen told BBC World News.

A variety of names have been suggested as replacements. One idea proposed is to refer it as the "SM Scalar Boson".

Another is to rename it the BEHGHK (pronounced Berk) particle, with the letters representing the six theorists involved with developing the theory of the Higgs.

And Prof Hagen, who is affiliated to the University of Rochester, New York, suggested that it be called the Standard Model Scalar Meson, or SM Squared. 

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