In one of the greatest Eureka! moments and Nobel-worthy finds in physics, scientists have confirmed their discovery of the Higgs boson, the subatomic particle also called the 'god particle'.
Its existence was proposed in 1964 by the British physicist Peter Higgs to explain why matter has mass. Scientists believe that the particle acts like snow i.e. when other tiny basic blocks pass through it, they clump together, slow down and create atoms.
CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) had announced in July last that the physicists had discovered something that looked like the Higgs boson, but they weren't sure as they had to study the data to rule out that it was not something else.
Now they believe they had got it right. Because the data strongly indicates that it is a Higgs boson. The discovery means that the key theory that scientists use to explain everything, is plausible - for now, at least.
The finding could result in a potential Nobel, though it is not certain whether the prize would go to the 83-year-old Peter Higgs and others who first proposed it, or to the thousands of scientists who discovered it, or to all of them together.
It took more than 20 years, thousands of scientists and avalanches of data from trillions of colliding protons from the world's biggest atom smasher, CERN's Large Hadron Collider, which cost $10 billion. It was built in a 27-kilometer tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border to produce the extreme energies for replicating those 1 trillionth - 2 trillionths of a second after the Big Bang.The particle is so elusive that only one collision per trillion will produce it.