Physicists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research confirmed today that they have discovered a subatomic particle that is a crucial building block of the universe. Called a Higgs boson, this particle will help to explain what gives matter in the universe size and shape. The existence of the particle was predicted in 1964 as a component of the most widespread model of the physical universe. The particle takes its proper name from Peter Higgs, the physicist who proposed its existence, but the boson particle has been popularly nicknamed the "God particle."
The scientists at CERN noted they were studying a particle described as "Higgs-like" last July, but could not conclusively confirm this was actually a Higgs particle until they had finished going through the data. Now, Joe Incandela, a physicist who leads thousands of scientists in one of the two main teams at CERN, stated:
"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."
This discovery could earn a Nobel Prize for Incandela and his fellows, who still have not announced with 100% certainty that this is the Higgs boson. They will continue to use the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider, or the atom smasher, for more tests. The Collider tests high-energy collisions of protons to see how the universe might have been created. The discovery of the Higgs boson is a crucial step to confirm that objects gain size and shape when they interact in an energy field with key particles.
If you can't get your fill of this heady science, an impeccably cast Morgan Freeman will host an special next Wednesday on the Science Channel on the Higgs boson particle called, Through the Wormhole: Is There a God Particle? which might not be up to date anymore, but will certainly be fascinating and sound authoritative.
[CBS, image via Getty/AP]