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American and Swiss scientists say they may have detected “hints” that the hypothetical sub-atomic “Higgs boson,” which has the nickname “the God particle,” actually exists.

Peter Higgs (Photo courtesy University of Edinburgh)

What is the “God particle?” There’s a lot more inside the atom than protons, electrons and neutrons. For decades, researchers have been proving the existence of quarks, leptons, neutrinos, muons, bosons, hadrons, baryons, mesons, pions and kaons.

The God particle is one of these. Some scientists prefer to call it the “champagne particle” since it has nothing to do with proving anything about the Almighty. It was simply a snappy term to illustrate the effect of what physicists call the “Higgs field.”

The term was coined by physicist Leon Lederman in his 1993 The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?  First hypothesized in 1964, the particle, if discovered, would be a vital missing piece of the model that physicists use to describe elementary particles and their interactions.

In the 1960s physicists began to realize that there are close ties between two of the four fundamental forces in what is called “the Standard Model.” The theory is that electricity, magnetism, light and some types of radioactivity are all manifestations of a single underlying force. However, in order for this theory to work mathematically, it requires that force-carrying particles have no mass.

Physicists including Peter Higgs, Robert Brout and François Englert came up with a solution to solve the riddle — the “God particle.”

However, no one has ever observed the Higgs boson in an experiment to confirm the theory. Now, the world’s largest atom smasher is rumored to have found it — or at least detected “hints” that it exists.

The speculation is based on a leaked internal note, said to be from physicists at the Large Hadron Collider, a 17 mile-long particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland.

The rumors started when an anonymous post disclosed part of the note on Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit’s internet blog, “Not Even Wrong.” While some physicists are dismissing the note as a hoax, others say the find could be a huge breakthrough in understanding the workings of the universe.

At the International Europhysics Conference on High-Energy Physics in Grenoble, France, scientists recently presented some curious data bleeps that could hint at the existence of the particle.

So far, the physicists stated that after conducting particle-smashing tests in the LHC, reaching speeds up to 99.99 percent of the speed of light, they were only able to determine the location the particle was not found, adding that with more tests and more data they would be able to determine whether the particle exists.

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