Scientists at the CERN research centre have discovered a new subatomic particle that could be the elusive Higgs boson, which is believed to be crucial in the formation of the universe.
“I can confirm that a particle has been discovered that is consistent with the Higgs boson theory,” said John Womersley, chief executive of the UK’s Science & Technology Facilities Council, at an event in London.
Joe Incandela, spokesman for one of the two teams hunting for the Higgs particle told an audience at CERN near Geneva: “This is a preliminary result, but we think it’s very strong and very solid.”
Scientists hunting the elusive subatomic Higgs particle will unveil findings on Wednesday that, they say, will bring them nearer to understanding how the Big Bang at the dawn of time gave rise to stars, planets and even life.
Physicists who have been smashing particles together at near light-speed at the CERN laboratory near Geneva have already seen tantalising glimpses of the “Higgs boson”, the missing piece of the fundamental theory of physics known as the Standard Model.
The world of science now awaits a mass of evidence big enough to be deemed a formal discovery. The secrecy surrounding Wednesday’s announcement has fuelled speculation that nearly 40 years of research have reached a climax.
CERN accidentally released a video on its website briefly overnight announcing a “new particle” had been observed, but CERN representatives declined to comment on whether that was what would be announced later in the day.
“This video was released due to a technical glitch on our side here at CERN. The final results have not yet been released,” CERN press officer Renilde Vanden Broeck said in Melbourne.
She said the organisation had prepared several videos for a range of outcomes for Wednesday’s announcement.
A CERN physicist with knowlege of what will be announced said the discovery was not necessarily definitive.
Image courtesy of CERN