Historic Higgs boson discovery - it "could" exist

  • 4 July 2012
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Scientists around the world have discovered the results from one of the biggest experiments in history.

They were hoping to prove the existence of a particle called the Higgs boson - and they have - pretty much!

They say a sub-atomic particle has been discovered which is "consistent" with what the Higgs boson would be like.

But they still have to say it "could" be the Higgs boson - because they can't be absolutely 100% certain.

Physicists worked for months in an underground laboratory in Europe, smashing particles together inside a 16-mile tube called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

They're convinced the Higgs boson particle is the evidence for how the universe works.

What is the Higgs boson?

A top scientist Professor Peter Higgs predicted in the 1960s that there is a particle out there which could explain the workings of the universe.

Image copyright Getty Images/University of Edinburgh
Image caption Professor Peter Higgs is seen here standing inside the 16-mile long LHC

If its existence could be confirmed, it would prove that all particles have mass - that's a measure of how much 'stuff' an object - such as a particle or molecule - contains.

Particle expert Tara Shears from Liverpool University says: "If particles didn't have mass, you wouldn't have stars, you wouldn't have galaxies, you wouldn't even have atoms. The Universe would be entirely different."

Professor Jeff Forshaw of Manchester University describes the Higgs boson as being like dragging a ball through treacle!

'Boson' is another word for 'particle' and is named after the Indian scientist S N Bose who researched particles in the 1940s.