Geneva, SWITZERLAND: A woman passes, 22 Mars 2007, near Geneva, behind a layers of the world's largest superconducting solenoid magnet (CMS), one of the experiments preparing to take data at European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)'s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particule accelerator. Courtesy Getty Images.
The physics world was abuzz Monday with early reports that the elusive
"God particle" had been detected at Europe's premier physics lab.
Discovering the particle, formally called
the Higgs boson, would finalize physicists' understanding of how
subatomic particles have mass, which gives an object weight.
Two international physics teams at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN,
in Geneva will present their results Wednesday. Their data should
reveal a definitive signature that the particle exists as seen in the
atom-smasher experiments at CERN.
have been pursuing the Higgs boson for three decades to understand how
particles create forces, such as electromagnetism.
physicists, mass isn't what we carry around on our waists, but the
amount of resistance that matter produces as it's being moved, or
In theory, the God particle, a term coined by physicist Leon Lederman to capture its elusiveness, interacts with the other particles to give them inertia.
researchers reported in December they were close to discovering the
particle, but the new results are built on twice as much data.
Ahead of the expected announcement, the journal Nature
reported "pure elation" Monday among physicists searching for the
Higgs boson. One team saw only "a 0.00006% chance of being wrong," the
Officially, the lab is mum about
the results until Wednesday. CERN technology official Steve Myers
reported only that data collection for the experiments ended last
"We don't actually know the answer yet.
We are still doing the calculations," said physicist Paul Padley of
Rice University in Houston, who is on one of the physics teams
presenting the findings.
"It's endless fun
for us to read all these news reports about the results, before we even
have finished the calculations," he said.