Science for the masses

Time for a Higgs metaphor upgrade

I liked your sidebar 'What is the Higgs?' (Nature 487, 147–148; 2012). This offers the first hint that there may be new explanations beyond the standard metaphor that it “endows particles with mass”. After reading words to that effect in so many news articles that simply leave it at that, this scientifically literate layman is ready for a metaphor upgrade.

If this turns out to be 'the end' for theoretical physicists, maybe they could find gainful employment working with science writers to develop metaphors that match the levels of scientific and mathematical sophistication of a wider range of target audiences.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Charles Packer.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Packer, C. Time for a Higgs metaphor upgrade. Nature 488, 157 (2012).

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.