After nearly half a century of searching, scientists have just announced that they believe they've found a Higgs boson particle.
Physicists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research, popularly known as CERN, announced this week that a particle they discovered last summer using the Large Hadron Collider (pictured above) is indeed the fabled "God particle" first theorized in 1964 by physicists, including the particle's namesake, Peter Higgs.
"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 Joe Incandela, a CERN physicist who leads one of the organization's two 3,000-scientist strong research teams.
According to the theory of how the Higgs boson works, objects get their size and shape from the way their subatomic particles behave in an energy field. Those subatomic particles interact with a key particle, and based on that interaction (how much or how little they attract), objects attain mass. Without mass, subatomic particles couldn't stick together and objects, no matter how big or small, would fail to hold their shapes. That key particle, the Higgs boson, became known as the "God particle" because without it, theoretically, objects of any kind couldn't exist. The universe would just be a mass of subatomic particles that could never stick together to form anything.
Back in July CERN announced that it found a particle that could be the Higgs boson, but didn't confirm that discovery. Now, after more than half a year of examining data, they believe the data from July "strongly indicates" that a Higgs boson has been found, though exactly what kind has yet to be determined.
If CERN is right, this is likely the discovery that will earn the next Nobel Prize in physics.
(Via Huffington Post)