Peter Higgs, an aging theorist who envisioned the particle as a young man in 1964, teared up as he attended the discovery announcement in Geneva.
In search of an elusive particle called the Higgs boson, science put in a 10 billion dollar effort involving six thousand researchers. A 17 mile circular tunnel beneath the border of France and Switzerland was the site of thousands of torpedo-size magnets capable of bending beams of subatomic matter, and trillions of subatomic collisions.
“It’s really an incredible thing that it’s happened in my lifetime,” Higgs said when he took the microphone before a packed auditorium at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which operates the Higgs-hunting Large Hadron Collider, quoted by Washington Post as saying.
The substance is thought create a force field that permeated the cosmos and imbues other particles with mass. In its absence, nothing could exist. Actively hunted since the 1970s, the Higgs is the final major piece of the Standard Model, which for physics is the equivalent of chemistry’s Periodic Table, the Post added.
Being a global event, the Geneva announcement was observed in every time zone. As late as Tuesday afternoon, the scientists were uncertain if they could announce an actual discovery of a new particle but after a final run of data, officials concluded that two detectors, named ATLAS and CMS, and operated by separate scientific teams, had met the standard for proving that the particle was real and not an experimental quirk.
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