Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Is my book blaspheming?

One of my best selling books is The God Effect, which describes the truly remarkable phenomenon of quantum entanglement.

I do sometimes wonder if some of the sales of the book arise not from an interest in quantum physics, but rather because it sounds like a slightly wacky religious book. That was certainly never my intention, though obviously I wanted it to have an eye-catching title.

The name was inspired by Nobel Prize winner Leon Lederman's nickname for the Higgs boson, 'the God particle.' It's possible to look at the mechanism this hypothetical particle is thought to give other particles mass as a kind of entanglement, so it seemed reasonable to call entanglement 'the God effect', especially as entanglement does produce such remarkable outcomes. I really don't think it was hyperbole to subtitle the book 'science's strangest phenomenon.'

I now learn from New Scientist that Lederman originally refered to the Higgs boson as 'the goddam particle' rather than 'the God particle' - but his publishers didn't like this apparently blasphemous term, so they changed the name and came up with 'the God particle' instead.

If this is true, I have to face up to the fact that my book really should have been called The Goddam Effect, which somehow doesn't quite give the feel I was aiming for. Though it would be quite amusing. And, to be honest, I feel it would have been better than just calling it Quantum Entanglement as the book nearly was.
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