WITHOUT the Higgs boson, the cosmos would be all butter and no toast, all steam and no engine, all talk and no trousers.

Without the Higgs boson, the cosmos wouldn't work by the operating manual that physicists have spent so long writing for it.

Now that the men from the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in their 27km tunnel have found a particle with the tail, whiskers and claws of a Higgs boson, there are many calls for Peter Higgs, after whom the Higgs boson is named, to be knighted and to be given a Nobel prize.

He deserves more, for there have been feeble Nobel laureates and many an undistinguished knight.

But Prof Higgs is more honoured by giving his name to the shy particle that he predicted would be found.

As Newton is known better than his laws, so shall Higgs be, even to us, who cannot follow his equations. London, July 5