If the existence of the Higgs boson is confirmed, it would complete the Standard Model of particle physics. But does that bring us any closer to understanding a mysterious substance thought to account for more than four fifths of the total mass of the universe?
The discovery of a new subatomic particle that is likely the elusive Higgs boson — a particle thought to give all other matter its mass — could be an important step toward uncovering the invisible stuff that makes up the majority of the universe, physicists say.
In a much-hyped announcement yesterday (July 4) from the world's largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, scientists reported evidence of a new "Higgs-like" particle with roughly 125 times the mass of the proton.
The researchers claimed a high level of certainty that the new particle is the long-sought Higgs boson, which is thought to answer how all other matter has mass. The long-sought-after Higgs is the missing link in the reigning theory of particle physics, known as the Standard Model, but finding the Higgs has even wider implications: It opens the door beyond the Standard Model for explaining the existence of dark matter, the mysterious substance widely thought to make up 83 percent of all matter in the universe.
Dark matter has yet to be directly detected; its presence is inferred based on its gravitational pull. Confirming the characteristics of the newly found Higgs-like particle could account for dark matter.
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