Speculation is mounting that physicists at the world’s largest atom smasher plan to announce Wednesday that they’ve pretty much found the most sought-after particle in modern science.
Scientists in Geneva reportedly believe they have enough evidence to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson, an elusive particle believed to give all objects mass.
The discovery could reshuffle our understanding of why matter has mass which, combined with gravity, gives an object its weight.
On Monday, scientists working with the US Department of Energy’s Tevatron collider at the Fermilab in Chicago announced their data pointed to the existence of the Higgs boson, but stopped short of claiming a discovery.
European scientists might go a step further Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press, researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), say that they have compiled data that show the “footprint and shadow” of the particle, even though it has never actually been glimpsed.
Two independent teams of physicists have been working to prove the Higgs boson exists, and are expected to stop short of announcing they’ve actually found the elusory particle when they make their big announcement on Wednesday.
Rob Roser, who leads the search for the Higgs boson at the Fermilab in Chicago, compared the latest development to finding the fossilized imprint of a dinosaur, telling the Associated Press, “You see the footprints and the shadow of the object, but you don’t actually see it.”
However, while scientists in Geneva might announce the discovery of an entirely new particle, Nature reports more data is needed to prove whether the new find actually is the long-awaited “God Particle.”
The magazine quotes one member of the team as saying, “Without a doubt, we have a discovery…It is pure elation!”
(Written by Dora Hasan Mekouar, Science World Online Editor)