Physicists working at CERN's Large Hadron Collider say it's possible they've discovered the long-sought 'God particle'. The Higgs boson could lead to 'new physics', they add.
Two teams of researchers say they have found a new, fundamental subatomic particle with a handful of traits that are consistent with those predicted for a long-sought Higgs boson – a particle linked to the mechanism that gives mass to other fundamental particles.
The results, presented Wednesday, are preliminary. Still, the data the teams presented drew thunderous applause and a standing ovation from physicists packed into a lecture hall at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, where the results were presented.
In December, the same teams unveiled results that hinted they'd found a particle. But this time each team, using independent ways of hunting for Higgs bosons, found their results matched for a few key measurements, each set carrying literally a 1 in a million chance of being wrong.
"As a layman, I'd say we have it," said CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer. As a scientist, however, he added that researchers now have to figure out what "it" is.
The particle's mass, for instance, falls within the range predicted for a Higgs boson that would fit into the so-called standard model – a description physicists have painstakingly built of the fundamental particles that make up matter and the forces that govern their interactions.
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