July 4th, 2012
04:21 AM ET

Scientists say new particle fits description of Higgs boson

Scientists said Wednesday that they had discovered a new particle whose characteristics match those of the Higgs boson, the most sought-after particle in physics, which could help unlock some of the universe's deepest secrets.

"We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature," said Rolf Heuer, the director general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which has been carrying out experiments in search of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest particle accelerator.

"The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle's properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe," said Heuer.

Announcements by scientists about their analysis of data generated by trillions of particle collisions in the LHC drew avid applause at an eagerly awaited seminar in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

The Swiss presentation comes after researchers in Illinois said earlier this week scientists that they had crept closer to proving that the particle exists but had been unable to reach a definitive conclusion.

Finding the Higgs boson would help explain the origin of mass, one of the open questions in physicists' current understanding of the way the universe works.

The particle has been so difficult to pin down that the physicist Leon Lederman reportedly wanted to call his book "The Goddamn Particle." But he truncated that epithet to "The God Particle," which may have helped elevate the particle's allure in popular culture.

Experts say finding the elusive particle would rank as one of the top scientific achievements of the past 50 years.

The Higgs boson is part of a theory first proposed by physicist Peter Higgs and others in the 1960s to explain how particles obtain mass.

The theory proposes that a so-called Higgs energy field exists everywhere in the universe. As particles zoom around in this field, they interact with and attract Higgs bosons, which cluster around the particles in varying numbers.

Imagine the universe like a party. Relatively unknown guests at the party can pass quickly through the room unnoticed; more popular guests will attract groups of people (the Higgs bosons) who will then slow their movement through the room.

The speed of particles moving through the Higgs field works much in the same way. Certain particles will attract larger clusters of Higgs bosons - and the more Higgs bosons a particle attracts, the greater its mass will be.

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Filed under: Science • Switzerland • Technology
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. sasss31

    Hooray! A Nobel awaits Mr. Higgs! Great day for science and physics.

    July 4, 2012 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dana

    So.....athiests make fun of people who believe in God for believing in something there's "no proof of" but .... it's okay for scientists to have believed in a particle based on a theory and go looking for something for decades without "proof" it even existed? .. sounds interesting lol

    July 4, 2012 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kittie594

    There are no accidents. God wanted us to find this.

    July 4, 2012 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kittie594

    No accident!

    July 4, 2012 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cheryl

    Oh boy!! Here we go...The Bible!! Well...Michael please do me a favor if you will...Prove, and I mean really and truly Prove God to me, Please!! You can't and never will be able to. The Bible is a book written by men...just like so many other books that have been written in this world. Just like you cannot prove to me that Jesus was and/or is the Son of God. Yes I do believe that a man named Jesus existed, and yes I do believe that he was considered a Prophet for his time, but...was he truly the Son of God?? This you cannot prove. The Bible (parts of it) were originally written in Greek, translated to Hebrew and other world Languages, and was written by MEN, hundreds of years after Jesus died, and I am expected to believe that it is utterly and completely true??? We are taught as children to believe in the Bible, and we are taught things about it that just are not true...then lo and behold some of us find out on our own the lies that have been forced upon us..just as I and everyone else were taught...God created man in HIS own image...however that is not what the Bible truly says...Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 26 actually says...And God said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness....Genesis Chapter 3 Verse 5 says..For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as GODS, knowing good and evil. Further in the Book of Genesis Chapter 3 Verse 22...And the Lord God said...Behold the man is become as one of US, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever. Imagine that!! Several references to multiple GODS, and one is called the LORD GOD!! Considering that parts of the Bible were originally written in Greek and one of the things they are most famous for are Mythology and GODS, one has to wonder...is there truly a REAL GOD, or are we just reading and believing in just another story about Zeus and other Greek Gods...just saying...food for thought.

    July 4, 2012 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Damon

      I believe in the Bible, God, and Jesus. It may not be true but I believe it is. I believe God is real, Jesus is real, and the Bible is true and real and if you cant respect and believe that than please just shut up about it because your just a part of the loosing battle in the battle of who believes that they are true & real. You going on about how it may not be true is not gonna stop me from believing and i don't think it'll stop anyone else either. So please keep YOUR beliefs to yourself and let us believe what we want to believe. This article doesn't even involve religion but your comment to "Michael" was out of line to me. Just keep them to your self.

      July 4, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Neil

    Do any of you know that the project is based in EUROPE? Obama doesn't really have anything to do with this.

    Please leave the silliness out of this article. It's all straightforward enough... If you need help, locate a map.

    July 4, 2012 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Vern Sawyer

      We would've ended up finding it first if congress hadn't cancelled the superconducting supercollider, no doubt to pay for more weapons allowing us to increase our influence as a nation by killing impoverished foreigners with minimal pretext.

      July 4, 2012 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Chase Logan

    What people here fail to realize, is that scientific discoveries such as this, are the very FOUNDATION of our progress as a species. The most basic mathematical principles are what make ALL of our luxuries today possible. From the Mac & Cheese on your table at dinner, to the house you use to shelter yourself from the elements. Sit back, and try to not only grasp this concept... But, respect it. You people complain about costs, but guess what? Basic mathematical principles make money what it is as well. You complain about the large number associated with cost for such a historical event, but you can't even respect what such an event means. This isn't some new phone developed by a kid in his parent's basement. This is a discovery made by respectable men and women, who have worked hard to try and explain the forces of our universe. The discovery of the Higgs Boson, wether you agree or not, is undoubtedly one of the greatest scientic revelations of the past 50 years. And those of you who are too blinded by your own financial issues, will surely miss the importance of this. You have beared witness to historic event, and you should act accordingly. Doing anything less is not only doing a diservice to the hard work these scientists have put in to further our understanding of reality itself, but to our species as a whole. This kind of thing is the very DEFINITION of progression, and you all would do well to understand this.

    July 4, 2012 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
    • mvdb

      Very good!

      July 4, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Emmanuel Goldstien

      Sadly, people like them will never understand. They are so myopic, they cannot see the world in the big picture. It really is sad that ninety-nine per cent of the country (probably 75% of the world) has this mentality.

      July 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Robot Monster

    The Higgs boson, if it exists, is responsible for the Higgs field which is what keeps us from zipping about at the speed of light. That would be a disaster! Think of the familiar magnetic field. That field is created thanks to the photon. Likewise, the Higgs field is created due to the Higgs boson.

    The popular press does a great diservice to the layman (don't they always?) by calling this particle the God particle because then we would need need to explain that the photon is IMMUNE to the God particle! Yes, Light ignores God!!

    July 4, 2012 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    @Vern 7:08. By impovrished, I hope you mean robbed. Nigeria is a top ten oil exporting nation. If their citizens had the same access to their oil as we do, your avg. Nigerian would be rich, not kept poor.

    July 4, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    ...and I suppose it goes without saying that 'minimal pretext' would be prevenge? (preemptive revenge)

    July 4, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Sci Fi Gi

    @Chase Logan. On your list of scientific discoveries that make luxury possible, you forgot to mention the amazing AIDS resistant condom developed by painstaking research over the past 30 years. It has big knobs on it that beat the virus to death.

    July 4, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |

    The speed of light is not absolute, and it is still up in the air as to just what mankind is able "to know".
    In fact science is begining to wonder if the only absolute is the minds capabilitys.
    Lotos of stressing about import of scientofic study today but in truth philosophers long ago speculated that there was a "god particle" that held this worold of material together.
    Long has man know that what we view as solid has always been particles with what seemed empty space between them, and wether the empty spaces beteeen humans ears can be explained is and most likely will remain mans last frontier

    July 4, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Didn't anyone notice that the origins of the name "God Particle" was from what he WANTED to call his book, "The G o d d a m n e d Particle"?
    Give it a rest.

    On a lighter note, I drew a piture like the photo above on my Spirograph when I was 7.
    It's a joke.
    Don't get testy. 🙂

    July 4, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      lol...you are a old head...

      July 4, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      We both are, if you know what I'm talking about, lol...

      July 4, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rich

    0 to "Obama sucks" in a few comments.... on an article that has nothing to do with politics. The internet seems to be de-maturing the world back to the level of a sneery teenager.

    People would rather willingly waste time over petty political squabbles than take interest in the innerworkings of our physical universe.

    July 4, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rascal Rabble

    try redirecting your research to neutralizing these radioactive contamination leaks and wastes...look at poor arafat...look like he had a cup of russian tea...how many plutonian deaths and chenobyl desolations must we endure...scientists?

    July 4, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
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