Bob Meade - The 'God particle' 749

  • Published in Columns
You have probably often heard the statement, you can't make something out of nothing. In a physical sense, that's true. There is really no such thing as "nothing", as nothing is the absence of something. In many ways, scientists are always seeking what is absent, and, for many years, many have been seeking the "Higgs boson", the missing particle they believe was needed to convert gaseous substances into solid matter. Scientists called it the "God particle".
Can you imagine such a thing as no space? Not even the length of the arm to the hand that is holding the paper you are reading. Or, can you imagine there not being such a thing as time? Not even as much time as it took you to read this sentence. Well, according to what is known as the "Big Bang" theory, before that big bang happened, there was no such thing as time or space. All that existed was that incredibly dense, hot mass, that is the subject of the theory. And how big was that mass? Who knows . . . could have been the size of a grapefruit, or a basketball, or something larger. But it sure had potential.
Scientists, physicists, tell us that once the mass exploded, it did so with such force that it hurled its gaseous matter literally billions of miles, and that its outward movement is actually what created space, and subsequently, time. Logically, scientists believed that the outward thrust from the big bang would eventually slow down and there would be an end to the expanding universe. But that did not happen. Somewhat surprisingly, the scientists have discovered that the further they looked out into the universe, instead of that outward thrust slowing down, it is actually speeding up . . . creating more space and more time . . . almost 14 billion years after the initial big bang happened. Unimaginable power and a challenge to the laws of physics.
Just recently, scientists discovered what they believe to be the "Higgs boson", also called the God particle. They believe it to be the particle that gives matter to the gaseous elements, and, without such a particle, there would be no solid formations — no planets, no moons, no universe as we know it, only gaseous clouds. Who knows what future research will uncover. After all, didn't we all believe that the outward movement from elements of the big bang would eventually slow down?
What make all this so interesting is that gaseous mass that exploded carried within it, not only all the elements necessary to create the stars, planets and moons, but also, the elements of life in all its various forms. It carried all the elements necessary to sustain life in the seas, on the earth, and in the air. It provided creatures with the ability to nourish themselves by feeding on other life forms that were likewise created out of the elements that were hurled outward by the big bang. It provided the five basic senses, to touch, see, hear, taste, and smell, and also provided other senses such as to care, to love, to feel empathy, to mourn, to be gleeful, to be thankful or fearful, to reason, and so on.
The question goes to the Higgs boson "God particle" and it being necessary for creating mass. It seems that if that's all the particle does, there must be another particle, or particles, that allows for the creation of the senses, employed by all living creatures. One could say that the Higgs boson allowed for the matter that we call the brain, in humans and in other creatures, but what caused the brain to get populated with thought, with the ability to reason, or the fight or flight responses . . . where is that missing link that makes us who we are?
Many years ago, my wife attended a series of seminars at the Mercy Center, in Madison, Connecticut. The center is run by the religious order, The Sisters of Mercy. One of the questions that came up during one of the sessions had to do with the difference between evolution and creationism. The Nun leading the program gave a very simple, yet profound answer, which was . . . at some point in the evolution process, God breathed a soul into man.
So we are left with two questions about the big bang theory. The first is, who or what created that initial mass that exploded into what is called the big bang? And next, was the Nun correct?
(Bob Meade is a resident of Laconia.)