A proton-proton collision produced in the Large Hadron Collider shows characteristics in line with the decay of a Higgs boson particle.
An elusive particle discovered last year looks even more like the Higgs boson
Just in time for Albert Einstein's birthday Thursday, scientists delivered exciting news about how the universe works.
Last summer, physicists announced that they had identified a particle with characteristics of the elusive Higgs boson, the so-called "God particle." But, as often the case in science, they needed to do more research to be more certain.
On Thursday, scientists announced that the particle, detected at the Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle-smasher, looks even more like the Higgs boson.
The news came at the Moriond Conference in La Thuile, Italy, from scientists at the Large Hadron Collider's ATLAS and Compact Muon Solenoid experiments. These two detectors are looking for unusual particles that slip into existence when subatomic particles crash into one another at high energies.
"The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is," Joe Incandela, spokesperson for the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment, said in a statement.
Scientists have analyzed two and a half times more data than they had when the first announced the Higgs boson results last July 4.
The Higgs boson is associated with the reason that everything in the universe -- from humans to planets to galaxies -- have mass. The particle is a component of something called the Higgs field, which permeates our universe. It's not a perfect analogy, but Brian Greene, theoretical physicist at Columbia University and "NOVA" host, offered this comparison when I spoke with him last year:
"You can think of it as a kind of molasses-like bath that's invisible, but yet we're all immersed within it," Greene said. "And as particles like electrons try to move through the molasses-like bath, they experience a resistance. And that resistance is what we, in our big everyday world, think of as the mass of the electron."
The electron would have no mass if it were not for this "substance," the field made of Higgs particles. So, without the Higgs boson, we would not be here at all.
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