European scientists say they are close to discovering the so-called God particle, which, if it exists, would help explain why matter has mass.
Anticipation is rising over the expected announcement soon of more evidence for the existence of the long-sought Higgs boson particle.
The Higgs has been theorized for years, but never found. Humanity's best hope of discovering the particle lies in the humongous atom smasher buried underneath Switzerland and France called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). There, physicists collide protons head-on to create explosions that give rise to new, exotic particles, including, maybe, the Higgs.
In December of last year, LHC scientists at the machine's home facility, the CERN physics laboratory in Geneva, reported they'd seen hints of what could be the Higgs boson in an excess of particles weighing about 124 or 125 gigaelectronvolts, or GeV, a unit roughly equivalent to the mass of a proton. However, the physicists hadn't accumulated enough data to announce a discovery, which in science requires a certain level of statistical significance called "five sigma."