New particle fits description of elusive Higgs boson, scientists say

Rolf Heuer, CERN Director General, second right, Fabiola Gianotti, ATLAS experiment spokesperson, left, and Joe Incandela, CMS experiment look at a screen during a scientific seminar to deliver the latest update in the search for the Higgs boson at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin near Geneva, Switzerland. The head of the world’s biggest atom smasher is claiming discovery of a new particle that he says is consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson known popularly as the ‘God particle’ which is believed to give all matter in the universe size and shape

Announcements by scientists about their analysis of data generated by trillions of particle collisions in the LHC, which is located beneath the Alps, drew avid applause at an eagerly awaited seminar in Geneva . Finding the Higgs boson would help explain the origin of mass, one of the open questions in physicists’ current understanding of the way the universe works.“We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature,” said Rolf Heuer, the director general of CERN, which has been carrying out experiments in search of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator. “The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle’s properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe,” Heuer said. The particle has been so difficult to pin down that the physicist Leon Lederman reportedly wanted to call his book “The Goddamn Particle.” But he truncated that epithet to “The God Particle,” which may have helped elevate the particle’s allure in popular culture. The results presented are labelled preliminary. They are based on data collected in 2011 and 2012, with the 2012 data still under analysis.  Publication of the analyses shown is expected around the end of July. A more complete picture of today’s observations will emerge later this year after the LHC provides the experiments with more data.The next step will be to determine the precise nature of the particle and its significance for our understanding of the universe. The Standard Model describes the fundamental particles from which we, and every visible thing in the universe, are made, and the forces acting between them. All the matter that we can see, however, appears to be no more than about 4 percent of the total. A more exotic version of the Higgs particle could be a bridge to understanding the 96 percent of the universe that remains obscure.

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