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Higgs boson excitement: Almost palpable (+video)

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The Higgs particle's presumed power to confer mass seems to endow it with the power of creation itself, which helped lead to its "God particle" nickname.

Many physicists loathe the term, fretting that it makes their discipline seem self-aggrandizing.

Physicists not connected to Fermilab expressed cautious optimism that the long-sought particle had finally been found.

"These intriguing hints from the Tevatron appear to support the results from the LHC shown at CERN in December," said Dan Tovey, professor of particle physics at the University of Sheffield in Britain.

"The results are particularly important because they use a completely different and complementary way of searching for the Higgs boson. This gives us more confidence that what we are seeing is really evidence of new physics rather than just a statistical fluke," Tovey added.

Tovey said scientists will have to wait until Wednesday for the latest results from the European scientists before "getting the full picture" concerning the Higgs boson.

'A Nice Result'

CERN spokesman James Gillies called Fermilab's findings "a nice result," but added that "it will be interesting to see how it lines up with CERN's results on Wednesday. Nature is the final arbiter so we'll have to be a little more patient before we know for sure whether we've found the Higgs."

Tom LeCompte, a scientist at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois who works at CERN and knows the results, said he was confident the Higgs would be shown to exist, or not exist, this year. But he would not say if the findings to be unveiled Wednesday would be definitive.

"I know 2012 is the year. I can't tell you July is the month," LeCompte said.

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