At a press conference
at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) Auditorium on July 4 in Geneva, Switzerland, physicists say they have found a new subatomic particle.
The new particle has properties that are "consistent" with the long sought-after Higgs Boson, but scientists fell short of confirming it as the elusive "God Particle." The God Particle
The Higgs Boson is commonly called the "God Particle" because a "theory of everything" rests largely on the confirmation of its existence.
Since the 1960's, scientists have been in search of the Higgs Boson
because its existence is necessary to the "Standard Model" of particle physics
. This theory seeks to explain all interactions between all known particles —hence, it is a "theory of almost everything."
The decades-long search for the Higgs culminated in the construction of the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest subatomic research facility, which has been the site of parallel experiments —CMS and ATLAS
— conducted by teams comprised of thousands of physicists from around the world.
"We have observed a new boson with a mass of 125.3 ± 0.6 GeV at 4.9 sigma significance," said Joe Incandela, CMS Experiment spokesperson, to thunderous applause from the audience. He however stopped short of naming the new particle.
ATLAS spokesperson Fabiola Gionatti followed up with a presentation of the results of her own team's experiments, which also supported the existence of a boson with "God Particle"-like properties.
However, although the newly-discovered particle is mostly consistent with the Higgs Boson, scientists are cautious to make that declaration pending further tests.
"Results obtained are consistent with the expectations for the Standard Model (SM) Higgs boson. However, more data are needed to establish whether this new particle has all the properties of the SM Higgs boson or whether some do not match, implying new physics beyond the standard model," CERN said in a press release
after the conference.
"We are entering the era of 'Higgs' measurements. This is just the beginning," Gionatti confirmed.
"I never thought this would happen in my lifetime," said Peter Higgs, one of the scientists who predicted the existence of the God Particle and for which it is named. — GMA News