Physicist Peter Higgs

British physicist Peter Higgs (R) shakes hands with Belgium physicist Francois Englert before a scientific seminar in Meyrin

The Higgs boson acquired the nickname “God particle” from the title of a book by Leon Lederman, The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?

Most particle physicists, including Higgs himself, hate the name because it is at best misleading. It has nothing to do with religion, overstates the importance of the particle, and is certainly not “the answer” (which we know is actually “42”).

Lederman himself jokes that he really wanted to call it the “Goddamn particle,” but the publisher wouldn’t let him.