The God Damn Particle

Of Collisions and Collusions

Let us consider this… science, as a journey in history, was free of capitalist forces. There were no J P Morgans limiting Nikola Teslas. There were no American Health Insurance Companies inhibiting stem-cell research. But such ‘considerations’ would only be like tripping on Lennon songs and Neruda poems. Fact: we live in a capitalistic world. Fact: we live in a Caucasian world. Fact: we will continue living in this world (posturing to be classless) until we implode or a mass revolution takes place. Marx, at times, whispers answers and reactions when we see convenient, consumable and pre-prioritised versions of the world through every morning’s broadsheet newsprint. On the morning of 4th July 2012, the world read about evidence of existence of the elusive sub-atomic particle, the Higgs Boson. But with it, a more covert announcement was made… that of everything our institutionalized funded scientific community chooses to leave out and never announces.

From the very outset let me be clear that I am not challenging the evidence or the research by all the supremely able scientists from all across the world at CERN. But I write today, as a common observer of the human race and all I consider is how we got to this point and I try and understand why.

Even though the Higgs Boson does owe a lot of its existence to the powers of human intelligence, creativity and presentation, it would be unfortunate, regressive and even solipsist if we were to isolate and subjectively treat ‘the god damn particle’ as something born out of human thought. This, in itself, is against the Marxist tenet of materialist analysis and it’s laughable to see pseudo-Marxists all over the world react this way to a physical experimental deduction that infers a ‘real’ existence of a ‘particle’ that is independent (not in context but in continuation) of human existence, creation and history. In fact, this trend of adulterating the Marxist analytical method has long existed among the educated left and has been used, over the years, to target sections of the scientific community, only to spit in its own face as and when they were proved wrong. These so-called revolutionaries were, in fact, creating fixed formulae in their own analyses instead of exposing the shortcomings in our methods of science. This innate nature of these pseudo-Marxists is like a burst appendix that’s killing the body that doesn’t even need it. It’s this very nature that has brought about the recent downfall of the Indian political left.

A case in point here is Einstein’s views on relativity, which was myopically, for decades, termed ‘subjective’ and ‘idealist’; they missed out on the nature of ‘relativity’ being purely reflective of Socrates’ dialectics, which is a property of ‘being’ and not ‘consideration’. Anyway, let’s now argue the case of the ‘God’ particle.

Firstly, there’s as much divinity in the Higgs Boson as there is in a cow. If you believe that a cow is divine because it’s your source of milk then you’ll firmly believe that the Higgs Boson is divine because it explains the source of mass. However, do not expect money-laundering shrines of the Higgs Boson on your neighbourhood footpath just yet. Secondly, the popular coinage ‘God’ particle is nothing but an editorial call by Dell Publishing to ‘sell more copies’ when renaming Lederman’s 1993 book originally titled ‘The Goddamn Particle: If the universe is the answer, what is the question?’. Lederman commented on the change, “The publisher wouldn’t let us call it the Goddamn Particle, though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing.” On a more philosophical note, I believe, the reason why the Higgs has been known as the ‘God Particle’ is that it makes a difference to our consumerist and generally non-reasoning state of mind, believing that most of the mass in the universe is explained as opposed to 96% random. There are still the mysteries of dark matter, dark energy and antimatter to sort out, but a Higgs universe is less of an inconvenient godless anarchy than one without the term ‘God’.

Secondly, the fact that certain powerful international/multinational funding bodies decided to collectively spend a whopping $ 13.5 billion (approx.) to find the notorious subatomic particle and then they came up with the statement, “The new find is consistent with the long-sought Higgs Boson… However, further data is needed to identify and validate the find.” Now I’m not denying the importance of the find and the possibilities it could unravel in the world of physics and more specifically in the context of ‘the standard model’ and ‘the theory of everything’. However, ‘everything’ in the ‘real’ world also includes the fact that the same amount of money could be used to unconditionally fulfill all health and food needs of all the people in the world for one whole year according to American anti-poverty NGO ‘Netaid’.

Also, even though unrealistic, imagine what India could achieve investing the same amount of money in renewable energy, given the current unbearable rise in fuel prices. Imagine how much more would we have contributed to the conservation of the planet’s future if this money had been spent on clean technologies. Anyway, I’m no tree-hugger but just a commoner concerned about our immediate priorities. This nature of human prioritization in funding through history is reflective of the deep western supremacist aspirations, where anything ‘beyond human’ has always been more important than anything ‘real’ and ‘human’. Moreover, from a more capitalist point of view, funding certain real needs would mean forgetting about feeding the mass consumerist fetishism, which is instead funded so-goddamn-well through massive investments in the international propaganda machinery.

For this very reason, we have a simple online tool called blogs, which are like the modern version of the revolutionary anarchist dark rooms in the back alleys of Prague or even Kolkata in the 70’s. Only in these realms, can we find information that is still independent, still free and still uncompromised. May be the next revolution will take place in these spaces.


The Boson, Not The Higgs?

It’s such an Indian thing nowadays to ‘join hands in protest’ and I’m all for it, as long as there’s enough understanding of what you’re protesting against; also, there’s the method, which needs to be contextual and effective. You can’t simply pick a method that creates your public persona as someone who’s informed, radical and dynamic. You can’t simply pick a cause because everyone’s doing it and it’s fashionable to join the bandwagon. There’s more to the language of ‘protest’ than just this.

Please stop protesting against the west’s so-called omission of Satyendranath Bose. If ever anyone omitted him from our memories, our scientific engagements and the modern Indian scientific context, it was you, the Indian mainstream media. He was never forgotten by any scientific community, whether Indian or otherwise. The only space where he was missing along with Meghnad Saha, Jagadish Chandra Bose, C V Raman and Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, was the media. The others still remain missing.

If you’re talking about a Nobel Prize, Satyendranath Bose would have been the last one lamenting the fact that he wasn’t given one. And the case of the Nobel Prize is quite a dicey one as well, given its history of political sieving. And why must Indians still look to the west for recognition; please realize that it’s been 65 years since the British left these shores.

It’s a post-colonial rising-power ego trip that the Indian media is experiencing with the sudden hue and cry over a great Indian scientist who was long forgotten and preserved in India only in street names and a few high school text book mentions. These are the same Indians that refused to publish his paper on ‘novel way of counting states with identical particles’ in 1924, while he was working as Reader in the Physics Department of University of Dacca. This paper was seminal in creating the very important field of quantum statistics. He, then, wrote to Einstein, who published the paper as a German translation in the coveted journal, Zeitschrift fur Physik. This early collaboration would later form a partnership that would go on to produce ground breaking work in sub atomic particle behaviour and statistics.

Satyendranath Bose’s contribution to the Higgs Boson is probably as much as that of Newton’s, if we were to consider scientific foundation, let alone postulation. The boson is named so, after the Indian scientist to honour his previous work in sub atomic particle behaviour that he postulated along with Albert Einstein and all particles that follow these properties are called bosons. It’s difficult for most Indians to accept the fact that the postulation and credit of existence of the particular particle in question goes more to a plate of ‘fish n chips’ rather than ‘fish curry’.

The man with a million ideas! He's just the kind of person who can make any discussion a roller coaster ride, maneuvering it through the exciting twists and turns of his creative ideas.

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