Higgs Boson 'God particle' hunt on, but not there yet
The long theorized subatomic particle would explain why matter has mass and has been called a missing cornerstone of physics.
With new analyses, scientists are 99.6 percent certain they found the crucial Higgs boson. But they want to be 99.9 percent positive, said Pauline Gagnon, a physicist with the European Center for Nuclear Research.
Last July scientists with the world's largest atom smasher, the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider on the Swiss-French border, announced finding a particle they described as Higgs-like, but wouldn't say it was conclusively the particle. Now thousands of checks show them even closer.
''It looks more and more like a Higgs boson,'' said Gagnon after an update presented Wednesday at a conference in the Italian Alps.
Gagnon compared finding the Higgs to identifying a specific person. This looks, talks, and sings like a Higgs, but scientists want to make sure it dances like the Higgs before they shout ''Eureka.''
She said there is only one last thing the particle they found could also be: a graviton. That's another subatomic particle associated with gravitational fields, not mass.
By checking the spin of the particle, scientists will be able to tell if it is a Higgs boson, which is far more likely, or a graviton. If it has no internal spin, it's the Higgs boson; if it has