Scientists Discover Particle Consistent with Elusive Higgs Boson

Posted July 4th, 2012 at 6:55 am (UTC-5)
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Scientists at the world's largest atom collider say they have discovered a subatomic particle that resembles an elusive unproven piece of the standard model of physics.

Two independent teams working at the European Center for Nuclear Research said Wednesday they have observed a particle of the same type as the theoretical Higgs boson, which is also referred to as the “God particle.”

It is thought to form the Higgs field, an invisible energy believed to confer mass on all other atomic particles – a key quality that affects the interaction of all matter in the universe.

The scientists describe the evidence as strong, but say the results are preliminary pending the analysis of more data.

Physicist Joe Incandela, a spokesman for one of the teams, says researchers are on the edge of an exploration that could open up “a whole new realm of discovery.”

“This boson is a very profound thing that we've found. This is not like other ordinary particles. We're reaching into the fabric of the universe at a level we've never done before. This is telling us something. It's a key to the structure of the universe. It could be the final point in the standard model, but we know at some level we're pretty sure that the standard model is not the full picture. So we've completed one part of the story, if you like, and we're on the frontier now.”

CERN says in a statement that the results are expected to be published later this month and “a more complete picture” of the findings will come later this year after more experiments.

Scientists have been using CERN's Large Hadron Collider, located near Geneva, to slam streams of subatomic particles together at high speeds and examine the particles created in the collisions.

Proof of the Higgs boson would confirm a key principle in the standard model of modern physics, which explains how everything in the universe is made from 12 basic building blocks.

Earlier this week, physicists from the U.S. Department of Energy's now-idle Tevatron collier presented data suggesting the existence of the Higgs boson. A spokesman said that data pointed to the existence of the particle, but that the CERN experiments would be needed to establish a discovery.