Mysteries of the universe unravelled

Seattle Symphony associate conductor Carolyn Kuan, who travelled to Geneva in 2008 for the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, inspects the device. The collider has been key in scientists' search for the elusive Higgs boson subatomic particle. Photo: AFP
This handout picture released by ESA/NASA shows the DDO 82, captured here in an image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers classify it as an Sm galaxy, or Magellanic spiral galaxy, named after the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy. Photo: AFP PHOTO /ESA/HUBBLE

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."


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