Higgs Particle / Nothing is as Simple as It Looks

by Stephen Hebert on Wednesday - 14 December 2011

in This and That

While wading through coverage for the announcement about the possible discovery of the Higgs particle, I decided to do a little background research. I hopped over to wikipedia and read this description of the Higgs mechanism:

In particle physics, the Higgs mechanism is the process in which gauge bosons in a gauge theory can acquire non-vanishing masses through absorption of Nambu-Goldstone bosons arising in spontaneous symmetry breaking.

Oh yes. Gauge bosons and Nambu-Goldstone bosons. Of course. Got it. I then started to read about QCD (Quantum Chromodynamics), and a number of other theories that are really quite meaningless to me. As I went through this exercise, an old idea was reinforced:

Nothing is as simple as it looks.

There are many days in my classroom when I struggle, because my students make assertions about Christian theology that are very simple. (NB: There is a difference between “simple” and “incorrect.”) Because I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about and researching that particular issue, I often see a greater level of complexity.

To me, this is the beauty of theology. Though we slap the -ology suffix on it and call it a field of knowledge, we cannot deny the element of mystery. As we delve deeper and deeper into it, we might be met with answers, but we always find more questions.

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