Ok you are right it’s not the God Particle.
But think of it this way, who in the general public would have read about the discovery (such as the science community is willing to acknowledge the discovery), if it was called “That really little thing no one has ever seen before”? It’s all in the billing. How many hits would Liz and Bill’s Cosmic Adventures get if you called it “Two Associate Editors Sitting around Talking about Astronomy”? Cosmic Adventures is a much better name to draw interest, well that and the anticipation of cameo appearances by Liz’s dog.
But seriously, a project like CERN needs funding and support, and considering the cost of the project it better find an angel or two. Your average person just has no concept or sadly interest, in the importance of science and the discoveries we’ve made. Names like “The God Particle”, although technically inaccurate do generate interest by those who would otherwise just turn the page to the sports section. Sometimes the sensationalism of CNN can be used for the forces of good. Let them sensationalize it. If calling something important requires the moniker “The really super stupendous better than sliced bread thing” and that generates interest and support, I say have at it!
Many might question a few billion dollars to find something called a Higgs, but who would question any amount toward the search for God? So let the scientists scoff at those that use the name. They should consider though before they do, that the misnomer might be worth a billion or three.
From [url=en.wikipedia.org/.../Peter_Higgs]the wikipedia article on Peter Higgs[/url]:
<< Higgs is an atheist, and is displeased that the Higgs particle is nicknamed the "God particle", as he believes the term "might offend people who are religious". Usually this nickname for the Higgs boson is attributed to Leon Lederman, the author of the book The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?[/i], but the name is the result of the insistence of Lederman's publisher: Lederman had originally intended to refer to it as the "*** particle". >>
I sympathy to the editor, I live in utah, so you might appreciate my sincerity when I say that. Here anything can be taken for an opportunity to talk religion. My solution is to use the correct name for the particle for my half of the conversation.
Anthony_sf 's anecdote is spot on, as far as I know, and I love the origin of the name "God Particle," if not the use. Caduceus, however, makes a pretty great point. (I will point out, of course, that "cosmic adventures" at least makes sense as a name for our video series, even though we all agree Liz's dog does most of the heavy lifting.) Perhaps I've been a little too hard on the name, since everyone would agree it has certainly gotten people talking about particle physics in a way most bosons never could.
I'll stick to Kubernite's approach, then - make sure I always refer to the Higgs boson by its real (and sense-making) name - and try to tone back my reproach of the heavenly nickname.