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Nobel Physics Prize Goes to "God Particle" Theorists

The 2013 Nobel Prize for physics has been won by Francois Englert of Belgium and Peter Higgs of Britain for the discovery of the so-called "God particle."

Staffan Normark of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the winners of the prize Tuesday in Stockholm, describing the discovery as "something very small that makes all the difference."



"And the Academy citation runs: 'For the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.' "



The two scientists, Englert and Higgs, are known for discovering the so-called Higgs boson, the sub-atomic particle nicknamed "the God particle" because it validates a very basic concept of particle physics, the so-called "Higgs field," which is believed to make possible the existence of atoms themselves.

Scientists, who have sought the particle for nearly 50 years, believe the Higgs boson existed only during the first millionth of a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, the explosion which created the universe some 13 billion years ago.

Joe Incandela, a spokesman for one of the experiment teams, has previously described the boson as being unlike any particle found so far.



"We are reaching into the fabric of the universe at a level we have never done before. This is telling us something. It is key to the structure of the universe. We are on the frontier now. We are at the edge of a new exploration and this could open up -- maybe we see nothing extraordinary, and we understand that maybe this is the only part of the story that is left. Or maybe we open up a whole new realm of discovery."



The Higgs boson was initially detected in 2012 at the European Center for Nuclear Research's (CERN) giant, underground particle-smasher located near Geneva, Switzerland. The discovery was later confirmed in March of this year after a series of CERN experiments.

The particle is the last piece of mystery in the Standard Model of physics, a theory that explains how everything in the cosmos is made from 12 basic building blocks.

The two scientists will share a prize of about $1.25 million.

Prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel.

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