News / Science & Technology

Anticipation Runs High Before Announcement on Elusive 'Higgs Boson'

Graphic showing traces of Higgs boson, the elusive 'God particle' believed to give objects mass
Graphic showing traces of Higgs boson, the elusive 'God particle' believed to give objects mass
VOA News
European physicists are expected to make an announcement at 0600 UTC Wednesday about their latest findings in the 50-year quest for an elusive particle that many scientists consider one of the fundamental components of the universe.

The Higgs boson, sometimes referred to as the "God particle," is a theoretical subatomic particle thought to form the Higgs field, an invisible energy believed to confer mass on all other atomic particles. Mass is an essential quality that combines with gravity to give objects weight, and it affects the interaction of all matter in the universe.

If the existence of the Higgs boson is proved, it would confirm a key principle in the so-called "standard model" of modern physics, a theory that explains how everything in the cosmos is made from 12 basic building blocks.

Wednesday's announcement will be made by researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN. It follows the collection of massive amounts of data from recent experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful atom-smasher.

On Monday, physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s now-idle Tevatron collider near Chicago presented data suggesting the existence of Higgs boson, following their analysis of more than 10 years of experimental data.

Fermilab spokesman Rob Roser said the Tevatron data "strongly points toward the existence of the Higgs boson," but does not prove it. He added that "it will take results from the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe to establish a discovery."

Roser told the Associated Press that confirmation of the Higgs boson will be like finding the fossilized imprint of a dinosaur: "You see the footprint and the shadow of the object," he said, "but you don't actually see it [the dinosaur]."

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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