New data narrows hunt for ‘God particle’


JOHN HEILPRIN
The Independent

December 13, 2011

Researchers hunting for an elusive sub-atomic particle believed to be a basic building block of the universe announced today that they have narrowed down the search thanks to the latest data.

The Higgs boson — popularly referred to as the “God particle” — is more likely to be found in the lower mass or energy ranges of the massive atom smasher being used to track it down, researchers from two independent teams said.

The unveiling of the latest data has generated much buzz among researchers who hope that the particle, if it exists, can help explain many mysteries of the universe. British physicist Peter Higgs and others theorized the particle’s existence more than 40 years ago to explain why atoms, and everything else in the universe, have weight.

Both of the research teams are involved with CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva. CERN oversees the $10 billion (£6.4 bn) Large Hadron Collider under the Swiss-French border, a 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel where high energy beams of protons are sent crashing into each other at incredible speeds.

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