Paris - Scientists say they've made a groundbreaking discovery that may eventually explain how the universe was created.
They say evidence is mounting that a recently found subatomic particle may be the elusive Higgs boson.
"We have established without a doubt that we have a new particle, and that it is a boson. What remains to be done is confirm that it is a Higgs," said physicist Pauline Gagnon, a member of the team that made the discovery at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).
The boson, dubbed the "God Particle", borrows its name from British physicist Peter Higgs, who in 1964 argued that the particle was what gave mass to matter as the Universe cooled after the Big Bang.
Guided by the theoretical work of Higgs and others, hundreds of scientists have been on a single-minded boson quest for over three years at the CERN's atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
On July 4 last year, physicists announced to rousing applause that they had found an elementary particle that resembled the Higgs boson - a scientific milestone.
Finding the Higgs would fill a massive gap in the Standard Model of particle physics, which describes the forces, particles and interactions that comprise the Universe.
The Standard Model postulates the existence of a single Higgs boson, but alternative schools of thought like string theory say there may be at least five.
"Have we found THE boson, or perhaps one of several predicted by other theories...? Until now, everything indicates that this is the Standard Model boson," Gagnon said.
"It has the allure, the look, the song and the dance of the Higgs boson."