WORLD

Late Korean credited with naming Higgs boson

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jul 5, 2012 - 20:02
  • Updated : Jul 5, 2012 - 20:02

Late Korean physicist Lee Whi-soh, also known as Benjamin W. Lee, is credited for naming Higgs boson, or the “God particle” that confers mass to the fundamental particles to make up all matter in the universe.

Lee’s contribution to the naming of Higgs boson came in to the spotlight after the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said on Wednesday it had found the particle that has eluded scientists for nearly half a century.

The Higgs boson was first proposed by six physicists including British scientist Peter Higgs in 1964.
Late physicist Lee Whi-soh (Wikipedia)

However, it was Lee who actually named the particle Higgs boson and explained the mechanism of it, which still had been vague and unclear at that time.

Lee coined the term while presenting a paper at an international physics conference in 1972.

Born in 1935 in Seoul, Lee immigrated to the U.S. in his college days and received a Ph. D at the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 25. He became head of the theoretical physics department at the prestigious Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in 1971.

Lee died in a car accident near Kewanee, Illinois, in 1977.

To Koreans, Lee is best known for being inaccurately described as a nationalistic nuclear physicist who helps build a nuclear weapon jointly developed by North and South Korea in the bestselling novel “The Mugunghwa Has Bloomed” by Gim Jin-myeong. The novel was also made into a film in 1995.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)