'God particle' might have been discovered

| Sunday, July 1, 2012, 9:28 p.m.

GENEVA — It has been fancifully dubbed “the angel of creation” and, to the particular scorn of physicists, “the god particle.”

The Higgs Boson is said to have appeared out of the chaos of the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago and turned the flying debris from that primeval explosion into galaxies, stars and planets. It's regarded as the key to understanding the universe. Its job is to give particles that make up atoms their mass.

Its formal discovery, according to a broad scientific consensus, would be the greatest advance in knowledge of the universe in decades.

Until now, in the four decades of research since its existence was first posited, no one has claimed to have seen more than a hint of it.

This may be about to change. On Wednesday at the CERN research center near Geneva, “Higgs Hunters” are expected to announce they have spotted it. Or something like it.

“Think of it as a smoking duck,” said Oliver Buchmueller, a senior scientist on one of the teams. “If it walks like a Higgs and it quacks like a Higgs, then we would have to at least consider the possibility.”

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