Higgs Boson

Jargon and Buzzword: n. A subatomic particle that moves through the Higgs field, and which accounts for why elementary particles have mass. Nicknamed the “God Particle” after an article that physicist Leon Lederman wrote in which he asserted that the Higgs boson is crucial to understanding matter. It is believed by some physicists to be the last part of the Standard Model of physics. In 2012, evidence of its existence was introduced, and data that confirmed these observations was announced in 2013. In December 2015, two separate groups of scientists working at CERN may have found evidence of a new subatomic particle that could be a heavier form of Higgs Boson. In short, it is a very complex concept, and it raises a lot of excitement when talked about amongst physicists.

Etymology: The “Higgs” of Higgs Boson is taken from the name of the English Physicist Peter Higgs, who, in 1964, published a paper which predicted the existence of a new particle, named after the scientist and called the Higgs Boson. The word “Boson” is formed from the name of Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose, whose research and findings provided the basis for Bose-Einstein statistics. “Boson” is also formed from the suffix -on, which is used to form the name of subatomic particles, and is originally derived from Greek. The suffix -on became productive towards the end of the 19th century.

Sociolectal Information: Currently a buzzword, as it was brought back into discussion by new discoveries related to the Higgs Boson in late 2015. Much research is still being done on this phenomenon, in an attempt to find out more evidence about its existence and its role in the world of science. On the campus of William and Mary, it is mainly used by physics professors and physics majors, as well as by well-informed polymaths who keep up on current events.

Survival Predictions: I think that this term will survive for a very long time. Research about its existence looks promising, and it is a critical concept for understanding subatomic particles in physics. It is still a very hot, and fairly new, topic in physics, but it is also a huge scientific discovery that could hold the key to a better understanding of the way that our universe operates. Admittedly, it is a very complicated theory and due to this fact, I think that its usage will remain within the field of physics.

Lexopinions: Higgs Boson, and its nickname “the God particle” sound impressive. It certainly sounds like a physics term, seeing as it has the same suffix that proton, neutron, electron, and other names for particles do. It seems to be a very promising and exciting new field of research. For me, the word also conjures up images of excited scientists and academics. It might be a bit nerdy, but it is also really cool.


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