'God Particle' Hunters Set to Bare Results Today

Physicists' understanding of the universe is at stake
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2011 4:25 AM CST
Updated Dec 13, 2011 6:26 AM CST
'God Particle' Hunters Set to Bare Results Today
Competing teams of scientists have sifted through data from trillions of Large Hadron Collider collisions.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, File)

Christmas may be about to come early for the world's physicists. Two competing teams of scientists who have been sifting through data from CERN's Large Hadron Collider will give a progress report today. Scientists caution that there won't be any firm answer on whether the Higgs boson "God particle" exists until March of next year at the earliest, but CERN rumors say the team's preliminary results will strongly suggest that it has been glimpsed. But another possibility—equally exciting for physicists—remains: The teams may say they are on the way to ruling out the particle's existence, the BBC notes.

The existence of the Higgs boson is central to the Standard Model of physics' explanation of why matter has mass. If scientists rule out its existence, theorists trying to explain the universe would be sent back to the drawing board. "Not finding a Higgs boson would be spectacular from the point of view of particle physics, pointing to something more interesting than the simple Higgs model," Harvard particle theorist Lisa Randall tells the New York Times. (More Higgs boson stories.)

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