- (Photo: Reuters/Denis Balibouse)
Physicists in Switzerland revealed Thursday that they have discovered the long sought after sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs boson, whose discovery will able to unify universal theory.
The particle was discovered last year at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland, but the results were not finalized until now following months of intense analysis.
The Higgs boson is the particle that is thought to explain why other particles have mass and how particles interact between the governing forces of general relatively and quantum mechanics.
If calculations are correct, the particle, which is responsible for unifying the understanding the intricacies of space-time, would be responsible for rendering the universe unstable and therefore lead to its destruction, physicists say.
"This calculation tells you that many tens of billions of years from now there'll be a catastrophe," Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., said at The American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual convention recently.
Two independent research groups examined data that was produced by crashing proton particles together at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. When analyzed, the scientists determined that the signature of an unidentified particle resembled that of the highly sought after Higgs boson particle.
The Higgs boson is the missing particle that would unify a theory that explains how particles close together in the universe form stars, planets and perhaps life itself. Researchers contend that without the Higgs boson, the universe would have remained without form as particles traveled around the universe at the speed of light.
"We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature," CERN director general Rolf Heuer read in a statement.
"The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle's properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe," Heuer added.