The God Particle (Higgs boson)

Physicists working at the the world’s most powerful atom smasher in Switzerland, the Large Hadron Collider, might have discovered what could be the so called God Particle also known as the Higgs boson particle. Rolf Heuer, director of the European Centre for Nuclear Research in Switzerland made the announcement of the discovery of a new particle that is consistent with the properties posturated for the Higgs boson. The God Particle (Higgs boson) is a subatomic particle that imparts mass to all matter in the universe and it is believed to have originated during the Big Bang. The Higgs boson plays a key role in what is known as the Standard Model of particle physics. The Standard Model of particle physics also includes electrons, protons and muons, but the Higgs boson is the only particle that remains undetected in experiments because it lives for only a tiny fraction of a second before decaying into other subatomic particles. The Higgs boson has been labelled the God particle because of it’s effect in the creation of the universe.

Discoveries vs Inventions

Inventions: When you invent something that does not exist.
Discover: When you discover something that already exists.

Invention and discovery do not bear the same meaning. Invention is purely original and is the result of your brain work but the discovery has led people to know about it now, but it has existed well before it was found. Discoveries cannot be patented. When something is invented, it is made public so that people can use it and maybe even make money from it, but when something is discovered, it is made public so that people could understand it, and know about it.  People can sometimes invent something by using a principle or law that was discovered earlier, and people might discover something with the help of an invention, like a tool or appliance. Inventions and discoveries can be mutually dependent and one can say that discovery is a subset of invention. It is important to note that discoveries can often lead to inventions, for example medicinal properties of plants which are considered discoveries can lead to patentable inventions such as plant extracts or preparations based on such plants.

Patent Facts about Discoveries

If an invention is new, inventive and useful, subject to certain patent laws, a patent may be granted for the invention. Exclusions as inventions in terms of the South African Patents Act:

  • A discovery
  • A scientific theory
  • A mathematical method
  • A literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work
  • A program for a computer
  • A scheme, rule, or method for performing a mental act
  • Any Aesthetic creation
  • Anything likely to encourage offensive or immoral behavior
  • Method of doing business
  • Method of playing a game
  • The presentation of information

These are not considered inventions and can therefore not be patented in terms of the South African Patents Act. If you make a new and useful discovery that no one else has ever found, it will not be patentable because you did not actually create the thing you discovered.  That thing was always in existence and you were just the first person to find it, but if you can invent something that makes use of that thing, you can patent the invention.