Scientists said Thursday they had come closer to
proving the existence of the subatomic Higgs boson particle, which
could explain why there is mass in the universe.
Physicists at Geneva's CERN laboratory said they had analyzed a large amount of additional data since they announced in July that they might have found the particle.
CERN said its scientists "find that the new particle is looking more and more like a Higgs boson."
The Higgs boson had previously been described only on paper. CERN said the data showed that two key properties of the real particle matched the theory.
"This, coupled with the measured interactions of the new particle with other particles, strongly indicates that it is a Higgs boson," CERN said.
British scientist Peter Higgs, along with others, developed a theory in the 1960s explaining why matter exists, by introducing the Higgs boson as a key part of the mechanism that allows particles to gain mass.
CERN said there was also a chance that the new subatomic particle turns out to be slightly different than the Higgs particle, which could point to the existence of additional spatial dimensions or unseen mass called dark matter.
In CERN's ring-shaped tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border, scientists funded by 21 European countries have been simulating the "Big Bang" by colliding huge numbers of particles to find traces of the Higgs boson.
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