The 'God' of all particles is here, almost
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In a 'quantum' leap in physics, scientists today claimed to have spotted a sub-atomic particle "consistent" with the Higgs boson or 'God particle', believed to be a crucial building block that led to the formation of the universe.
Scientists at Switzerland's CERN research centre made the historic announcement, in a major milestone in the 50-year search for the elusive Higgs, that is believed to have been responsible for lending mass to the particles that eventually formed the stars and the planets after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.
"We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature," said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer.
"The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle's properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our Universe," Heuer said.
Joe Incandela, the leader of CMS, one of the two teams at the world's biggest atom smasher, told a packed audience of scientists at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) that the data has reached the level of certainty needed for a "discovery".
But he did not yet confirm that the new particle is indeed the tiny and elusive Higgs boson, which is believed to give all matter in the universe size and shape.
A second team of physicists ATLAS also claimed they have observed a new particle, probably the elusive Higgs boson.
"We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of 5 sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV," said ATLAS experiment spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti, "but a little more time is needed to prepare these results for publication".
A five sigma, that translates into over 99 per cent certainty of discovery, is required before a particle is declared as being discovered. Plus, the Higgs is believed to lurk at the lower ends of the energy spectrum -- between 120 and 140 GeV.
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