Physicists working at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider said Wednesday that they had discovered a new subatomic particle that looks for all the world like the Higgs boson, a potential key to an understanding of why elementary particles have mass and indeed to the existence of diversity and life in the universe.
Dr. Heuer and others said that it was too soon to know for sure whether the new particle, which weighs in at 125 billion electron volts, one of the heaviest subatomic particles yet, fits the simplest description given by the Standard Model, the theory that has ruled physics for the last half-century, or whether it is an impostor, a single particle or even the first of many particles yet to be discovered. The latter possibilities are particularly exciting to physicists since they could point the way to new deeper ideas, beyond the Standard Model, about the nature of reality. For now, some physicists are calling it a “Higgslike” particle.
When asked about the discovery, Peter Higgs (who first predicted the particle’s existence almost 50 years ago) replied, “I had no expectation that I would still be alive when it happened. It is very satisfying. For me personally it’s just the confirmation of something I did 48 years ago.”
A grad student who was present at the announcement has started an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit.