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Higgs, Higgs, glorious Higgs

By Hamish Johnston

“What actually goes on
when hunting a boson.”

If that’s the sort of rhyming couplet that tickles your fancy, you will love this music video from CERN.

It features the CERN choir performing “The particle physicists’ song”, a variation on the Flanders and Swann classic “The hippopotamus song”. The new words are by Danuta Orlowska, who is a clinical psychologist in London.

Other memorable lines include:

“They all thought of SUSY with love in their eyes”

and “Those physics professors were no idle guessers”.

And if you think you can do better than that, the choir suggests you e-mail your own verses to

If particle physics isn’t your bag and you’d prefer a song about nuclear power, then check out this reworking of “Yankee doodle dandy” from the American Nuclear Society. It’s from 2002 but a bit of a gem.

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  1. Dionysios G. Raftopoulos

    I truly loved the humorous video from CERN with the Particle Physics Song “Higgs,Higgs glorious Higgs”, referring to the so called “God’s Particle”, and was reminded of the well known Hymn “Gloria” that is sang in churches on Easter Sunday.
    And that is because I’ve always suspected that the “High Priests” of modern Science, taking their cue from their religious colleagues,are probably thinking that, since the “trick” worked so well in the case of Religion, why not apply it to Science as well.
    It certainly isn’t such a bad idea; after all, why the Priests have a monopoly on Truth?
    However,Pontius Pilatus’s question to Jesus still remains unanswered:
    “What is Truth?”

  2. John Duffield

    There’s a book by Gian Francesco Giuduce of CERN. It was [url=]reviewed on physicsworld[/url], and it’s pretty good. And I imagine that like me, he’s is cringing at this kind of promotional material, because on page 174 he says this:
    [b]”Unlike the rest of the theory, the Higgs sector is rather arbitrary, and its form is not dictated by any deep fundmantal principle. For this reason its structure looks frighteningly ad-hoc.”[/b]
    He goes on to say:
    [b]”It is sometimes said that the discovery of the Higgs boson will explain the mystery of the origin of mass. This statement requires a good deal of qualification. Most of the mass of ordinary matter is carried by atomic nuclei, which are made of protons and neutrons, which in turn, are made of quarks. But the masses of protons and neutrons are not simply given by the sum of the masses of the constituent quarks, which accounts for only about 1 per cent of the total. Mass is (recall E=mc²) the intrinsic energy of a body at rest. So about 98 per cent of the mass of protons or neutrons comes from the frantic motion of quarks and gluons confined in their interiors, or, more precisely, from the binding force of QCD. Electromagnetic effects count for another 1 per cent.
    The Higgs mechanism is ultimately responsible for generating the quark masses, but not for the QCD effect. This is the reason for which it was stated previously that the Higgs substance provides for less than a kilogram of our body mass. Moreover, as will be illustrated in Chapter 12, most of the matter in the universe is in the form of dark matter. Although the nature of dark matter is still unknown, it is unlikely that its mass originates from the Higgs substance. In summary the Higgs mechanism accounts for about 1 per cent of the mass of ordinary matter, and for only 0.2 per cent of the mass in the universe. This is not nearly enough to justify the claim of explaining the origin of mass.”[/b]


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