Physicists Find New Particle, but Is it the Higgs?
Physicists in Europe will present evidence of an entirely new particle on July 4, Nature has learned. But more data will be needed to officially confirm whether it is indeed the long-awaited Higgs boson — the particle thought to be behind the mass of all the others. Even as rumours fly in the popular media, physicists have begun quietly cheering at CERN, the European particle-physics lab near Geneva in Switzerland.
“Without a doubt, we have a discovery,” says one member of the team working on the ATLAS experiment, who wished to remain anonymous. “It is pure elation!” For nearly half a century, physicists have predicted the existence of a particle that helps to endow others with mass. The boson is the upshot of a mathematical trick that unites the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces into a single ‘electroweak’ interaction. It is considered the final, crucial piece of the standard model of particle physics.