‘God particle’: Scientists ‘confident’ they know how Big Bang caused matter

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GENEVA — It helps solve one of the most fundamental riddles of the universe: how the Big Bang created something out of nothing 13.7 billion years ago. …

Artist concept of the Higgs Boson. / Getty

Artist concept of the Higgs Boson. / Getty

[S]cientists said Thursday that after a half-century quest, they are confident they have found a Higgs boson, the elusive subatomic speck sometimes called the “God particle.”

The existence of the particle was theorized in 1964 by the British physicist Peter Higgs to explain why matter has mass. Scientists believe the particle acts like molasses or snow: When other tiny basic building blocks pass through it, they stick together, slow down and form atoms.

Scientists at CERN, the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced in July that they had found something that looked like the Higgs boson, but they weren’t certain, and they needed to go through the data and rule out the possibility it wasn’t something else. …

[I]t needed the world’s biggest atom smasher — CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, which cost $10 billion to build and run in a 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border — to produce the extreme surge of energies simulating those 1 trillionth to 2 trillionths of a second after the Big Bang.

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