Scientists at CERN are expected to report Tuesday seeing hints of the long-sought Higgs boson – the so-called 'God particle' linked to a mechanism that gives other subatomic particles their mass.
It's been dubbed the "God particle," although if it could speak for itself, it might be a bit more modest about its pedigree.
The particle's formal tag is the Higgs boson, and tomorrow at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists are expected to report seeing hints of the long-sought Higgs – the particle linked to a mechanism that gives other subatomic particles their mass.
For more than a century, physicists have painstakingly built the so-called standard model of physics, which catalogs a clutch of fundamental particles, describes their traits, and explains their interactions. The Higgs boson is a relative latecomer to the menagerie and represents the Standard Model's last undetected fundamental particle.
Detection of the Higgs would be "very significant," says Gail Hanson, a physicist at the University of California at Riverside who currently is at CERN as a member of a US team taking part in the international hunt.
"This is the one thing that hasn't been found that we need in the standard model" if it is to underpin a "theory of everything," she adds.
However, information emerging tomorrow is far more likely to be tantalizing than conclusive, she cautions.
Indeed, she adds, "It would be interesting if we didn't find it."