Neil deGrasse Tyson's favorite science joke will make you smarter

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Why Is The Higgs Boson The 'God Particle'?

If you've ever listened to StarTalk radio, then you'll know that its host, famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, definitely has a sense of humor.

His humor was not lost on Business Insider when we asked him in an interview last year about his favorite science joke.

Tyson first heard this joke told by science comedian Brian Malow.

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Here's how it starts:

"A Higgs boson walks into a church."

If you're unfamiliar with the term "Higgs boson," you might know it by another name: the "God" particle.

To get the joke, you must first understand the Higgs, which is one of the most important particles ever discovered.

A Higgs boson is a type of subatomic particle that is about one-hundredth the size of a proton.

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Scientists used the world's most powerful particle accelerator to see it for the first time in 2012, and their discovery was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics the following year.

This discovery was Nobel-worthy because Higgs bosons come with a special ability: They help give other subatomic particles their mass.

Without the discovery of a Higgs boson, physicists would not understand how particles, like those that make up you, me, and the billions of galaxies in the universe, could exist.

Check out photos of Tyson:

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Neil deGrasse Tyson's favorite science joke will make you smarter
Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, 'Cosmos' television show host and Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History speaks August 4, 2014 after a screening of James Cameron's 'Deepsea Challenge 3D' film at the museum in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: TV host Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson participates in StarTalk Radio's climate change panel discussion and reception at Beacon Theatre on June 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)
Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks on stage at the National Geographic Channel 2015 Winter TCA on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Host Neil DeGrasse Tyson is seen at the FOX Winter 2014 TCA, on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
From left, Kristen Schaal and Neil DeGrasse Tyson are seen at the FOX Winter TCA Press Tour party, on Monday, January 13, 2014 at the Langham Huntington, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for FOX/AP Images)

Back to the joke, as told to by Tyson:

"Higgs boson walks into a church, and the priest says, 'I'm sorry we don't allow Higgs bosons to come to churches.' And [the Higgs] says, 'But without me, you can't have mass.'"

Just to make sure this joke is politically correct, Tyson mentioned he had tested this joke on a Jesuit priest. "He said it was cool, so that gives us total clearance," Tyson said with a laugh.

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