“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.” -The Doctor, “Doctor Who”
The Higgs boson is the particle that is thought to give everything else in the universe mass, but that bit of theoretical physics is unlikely to be the reason most people have heard of it. Its theistic nickname was coined by Nobel-prize winning physicist Leon Lederman, but Higgs himself is no fan of the label. “I find it embarrassing because, though I’m not a believer myself, I think it is the kind of misuse of terminology which I think might offend some people.”
It wasn’t even Lederman’s choice. “He wanted to refer to it as that ‘goddamn particle’ and his editor wouldn’t let him,” says Higgs.
The good news: A wonder metal that fires your phone, iPod and shiny new electric car is so clean it may save the planet. The bad news: More than half of the world’s lithium is beneath this Bolivian desert…and getting it is so dirty it inspired the latest Bond plot
“I don’t think I was mature enough as a teenager to really grasp the message that the late-20s Peter Parker was trying to teach me back then. But it sunk in on me very quickly as a post-collegiate journalist making in the low $20,000s while living in an expensive city. The answer isn’t to stop doing what you want in life. That’s the challenge. There’s no answer. And it won’t get easier. “