Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Haley Reading Group: Dennis Overbye’s “A Pioneer as Elusive as His Particle”
[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2015)]
By Rae'Jean Spears
Dennis Overbye’s article “A Pioneer as Elusive as His Particle” focuses on Dr. Peter Higgs, a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. Dr. Higgs is known for his contribution in predicting the existence of a particle, now known as the Higgs boson, that explained how particles get mass. Interestingly enough, while Dr. Higgs was highly regarded for his discovery, Overbye illustrates how Higgs avoids attention.
Overbye’s discussion of how such an important figure in science chooses to be relatively secluded is quite fascinating. Overbye notes “his public appearances are as rare and fleeting as the tracks of an exotic particle in the underground detectors of CERN” (208). This point greatly illustrates the extent to which Dr. Higgs is rarely seen in the public eye.
After reading Overbye’s article, what was one point about Dr. Higgs's seclusion that caught your attention? Why was that interesting in comparison to his noteworthy contribution to science? Please provide a page number citation.