World have your say

On the day we announced the Higgs discovery I was on the BBC World Service. Not the greatest experience…

From Smashing Physics:

The last of the media engagements I did that day was a BBC World Service radio programme called World Have Your Say. This was to be a live discussion of the implications of the discovery. Lovely. They did warn me that ‘religious implications’ would be part of the discussion, but since there were none, I naively assumed this would be a small part and we could spend most of the hour talking about what had really happened.

The programme began sensibly enough, and we had a good 15 minutes or so discussing what had just happened, what CERN was and the technology behind the experiments. All good. In the studio with me was an engaging and smart guy called Sonny Williamson, a composer who had apparently been doing serial interviews all day as a non-physicist, non-expert big fan of the whole thing who had visited CERN on his holidays. There was also a Welsh Hindu. On the phone were Caitlin Watson from the Institute of Physics and the science writer Marcus Chown. All fine.

I worried a little when Marcus left, with 40 minutes remaining, to be replaced by an unsuspecting cosmologist, Andrew Jaffe, and the presenter said we’d move on to the religious implications.

Sonny said there were none. Caitlin said there were none. Andrew and I said there were none, unless you have the kind of religion that instructs you to disregard evidence, in which case you had many bigger problems than the Higgs boson. The age of the Earth, for example. But in general there was no special religious implication in this discovery.

This wasn’t enough…

Read more at Butterworth, Jon. Smashing Physics (pp. 230-231). Headline.

“World speak your brains” more like…

About Jon Butterworth

UCL Physics prof, works on LHC, writes (books, Guardian Science and elsewhere). Citizen of England, UK, Europe & Nowhere, apparently.
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