Just yesterday, the world was welcoming in a new pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis. The attention has already shifted to another holy discovery, however: the Higgs boson, or the “God Particle,” which is reported to have been found on Thursday by scientists at the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The God Particle is known as one of the most fundamental particles in the Universe, and by pinning down Higgs boson, scientists have revealed a crucial building block of the universe.
The elusive subatomic particle was first predicted in 1964 by physicist Peter Higgs, but it wasn’t until last July scientists at the CERN announced finding a particle that was “Higgs-like.” At the time, they didn’t say it was the God Particle, but they have now finished fishing through the entire set of data. The results were made public in a statement by CERN, and released at a physics conference in the Italian Alps.
“The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and, to me, it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson, though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is,” said physicist Joe Incandela, who heads one of the two main teams at CERN, according to the Associated Press. They write:
The particle’s existence helps confirm the theory that objects gain their size and shape when particles interact in an energy field with a key particle, the Higgs boson. The more they attract, so the theory goes, the bigger their mass will be.
The God Particle is described as a missing cornerstone in physics. That said, this confirmed discovery is likely to win a Nobel prize.
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