Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.
Big gifts come in small packages; the key to our understanding of the universe’s existence lies in the proof of a particle so small and so elusive, the proof just may be impossible.
After decades of investigation, scientists will announce Wednesday that they can now confirm that the sought-after "God particle" exists, the Associated Press reports. However, they do not claim to actually have discovered it.
Researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, say their data show the footprint of the particle and all but proves that it exists but that it has still never been looked at or worked with. Two independent teams of physicists will present their near-discoveries at the CERN complex on the Swiss-French border.
The "God particle," named so because one physicist deemed it "so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive,” is an elementary particle as predicted by the standard model of particle physics. Also known as the Higgs boson, it answers fundamental questions about the universe, like what gives mass to matter.
CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, at 4 years old and worth $10 billion, is the world’s largest particle accelerator. It creates high-energy collisions of protons to explain scientific phenomena such as those thought to involve the "God particle."