WASHINGTON – Physicists in Italy said Wednesday they are achingly close to concluding that what they found last year was the Higgs boson, the elusive “God particle.” They need to eliminate one last remote possibility that it’s something else.
The long theorized subatomic particle would explain why matter has mass and has been called a missing cornerstone of physics.
With new analyses, scientists are closer to being certain they found the crucial Higgs boson. But they want to be 99.9 percent positive, said Pauline Gagnon, a physicist with the European Center for Nuclear Research.
Last July, scientists with the world’s largest atom smasher, the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider on the Swiss-French border, announced finding a particle they described as Higgs-like, but wouldn’t say it was conclusively the particle.
“It looks more and more like a Higgs boson,” said Gagnon after an update presented Wednesday at a conference in the Italian Alps.
Gagnon compared finding the Higgs to identifying a specific person. This looks, talks and sings like a Higgs, but scientists want to make sure it dances like the Higgs before they shout “Eureka.”