The so-called ‘God Particle’ is closer than ever to being located by scientists at the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Higgs boson particle, first hypothesized in the 1960s, is said to be the missing piece of the ‘Big Bang’ theory which explains the universe’s existence and even creation.
Physicists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced Tuesday that they’d narrowed down the list of possible hiding spots for the Higgs, and say there are signs it is close to being located. Vivek Sharma, a physicist at the University of California, San Diego, and leader of the Higgs search, says:
“I think we are getting very close. We may be getting the first tantalizing hints, but it’s a whiff, it’s a smell, it’s not quite the whole thing.”
In recent days, rampant speculation has suggested the CERN team would announce the particle has been found. Tuesday’s declaration was not the definitive statement on the matter, however but scientists say the progress made is a significant and exciting step, physicists say. CERN physicist Fabiola Gianotti told reporters:
“It’s something really extraordinary and I think we can be all proud of this.”
The Higgs boson is thought to be tied to a field (known as ‘the Higgs field’) that gives all other particles their mass, therefore creating matter. After collecting two years of data, the particle can only exist in the range between 114.4 and 131 gigaelectronvolts (GeV). Outside that range, scientists say they are more than 95% confident the Higgs cannot exist.