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  (Source: BBC)
Two separate experiments at the Large Hadron Collider bring scientists closer to elusive building block of Universe

For a week, anticipation has been building for the press conference held this morning by scientists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland. Speculation abounded that they would announce evidence of the misnamed "God particle," the Higgs boson, which gives all matter mass.

So, now that 8 a.m. ET on December 13, 2011 has passed, are we any closer to finding the so-called God particle? Well, maybe.

According to the BBC, researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland say that two experiments there may have resulted in glimpses of the Higgs boson. However, they do not have enough evidence yet to make a solid claim.

So why all the fuss? 

"The Higgs is the final piece of the Standard Model of Particle Physics which is, itself, the crowning achievement of subatomic physics. Called the 'God Particle' by some, the Higgs is responsible for giving all the other flecks of matter in this Universe the remarkable property we think of as mass. Physicists have been hunting the Higgs for decades," explains Adam Frank at NPR's 13.7 blog.

Evidence of the Higgs would be one of the most significant scientific advances in 60 years. 

The two separate experiments at the LHC — Atlas and CMS — have been searching for the basic building block of the Universe independently. "Because the Standard Model does not predict an exact mass for the Higgs, physicists have to use particle accelerators like the LHC to systematically look for it across a broad search area," the BBC reports.

Both experiments have reportedly seen a data "spike" around a mass of 125 Gigaelectronvolts. While this isn't enough to confirm the Higgs' discovery, it is enough to generate mass excitement (pun definitely intended) in scientific circles.

Perhaps now all the citizens CERN recruited to help find the Higgs can go back to their day jobs.

Sources: BBC, NPR





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