Monday, July 9, 2012

Higgs boson and Indian TV media

"We have observed a new particle consistent with a Higgs boson."

Thus declared the director general of the CERN research facility. CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which "operates the world's largest particle physics laboratory". In a nutshell, Higgs boson is that particle that provides mass to the other elementary particles. Basically - it is the core of our universe; it is why our universe exists. Nobel prize winning physicist, Leon Lederman named this particle as the "God Particle". 

Higgs is the name of the scientist who proposed this theory. Bosons are sub-atomic particles defined in the Standard Model. Bosons are named after the Indian Scientist Dr. Satyendranath Bose, in recognition of his immense contribution along with Albert Einstein. That is a brief summary of Higgs boson, also called as the God Particle.

Just a brief summary is prompting us to ask so many questions! Who is Dr. Bose? What was his contribution? How come he never won a Nobel Prize? How come we have seldom heard of his scientific genius? How exactly does CERN function? What is the laboratory that they operate? 

What does the deputy editor of CNN-IBN, Sagarika Ghose do? She asks this:

So how many passionate Twitterati out there believe the ‪#God‬ Particle is a pseudo secular conspiracy?

Mind blocked? Are you thinking "where in God's name did secularism come into the picture here?" ! That's what the TV media did - Obfuscate yet another topic. She doesn't stop there

Essential reading for Twitterati on a day god particle discovered: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Bible of scientific atheism

You see that? Essential reading is not about the science behind Higgs boson. Essential reading is not about the research of Dr. Bose. Essential reading is a "bible of scientific atheism". 

She went ahead and argued with people asking her questions (even deriding some of them for genuine queries). She has deleted all those tweets, but nevertheless those tweets clearly exposed who was the intolerant amongst the two. And if you think this was just on twitter, you are mistaken. Now, she goes ahead and announces a show on this. 

Have we caught a glimpse of God? Special reports and scientists views on Higgs Boson tonight on Face The Nation 10pm CNNIBN

At first glance, the title and content of the show seems reasonable right? Here's the follow up tweet

Face The Nation 10pm: Big Bang theory vs religion.Scientists and religious leaders speak on whether science undermines belief in god

This was supposed to be a day of triumph for scientists. This was supposed to be a day of learning for viewers/readers. What we expected was a little more effort into explaining the science, it's impact on laymen. More importantly, it was a day when Dr. Satyendranath Bose was to be remembered and his legacy cherished. Instead what did we get? Religion and Science. 

The Editor-in-Chief of CNN-IBN asks this

Hated physics is school. Must confess to remain dazed by all the reports on the Higgs Bosen particle. Where can I find a SWOT analysis?

No - I am not saying he should know everything. But he is an Editor-in-Chief and I presume he is expected to know what SWOT means? But how does one give a "Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat" (SWOT) analysis on a particle in physics? And the irony - no program on his channel to give this "insight"! 

If you think this phenomenon was restricted to CNN-IBN, nope. Here's NDTV's CEO Vikram Chandra:

This week the Big fight will be discussing the ultimate question. The existence of God and the nature of the universe.

Is there a conflict between science and religion? Between creation and evolution? Send in your comments! ‪#god‬

In my opinion, this is the worst

Have scientists "seen" the God particle? Boson named after Satyendranath Bose brilliant Bengali physicist of Bose Einstein statistics ‪#CERN‬

Bengali Physicist? What next? C.V.Raman is a "Tamil Physicist"? 

Higgs boson --> God Particle --> Religion and Science --> Internet Hindus --> Abuse and Trolls. This is a chain that can be developed only by our media.