Two independent studies of data produced by smashing proton particles together at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider produced a convergent near-certainty on the existence of the new particle.
It is unclear that it is exactly the boson Higgs foresaw, which by bestowing mass on other matter helps explain the way the universe was ordered after the chaos of Big Bang.
But addressing scientists assembled in the CERN auditorium, Heuer posed them a question: “As a layman, I would say I think we have it. Would you agree?” A roar of applause said they did.
For some, there was no doubt the Higgs boson is found: “It’s the Higgs,” said Jim Al-Khalili of Surrey University, a British physicist and popular broadcaster. “The announcement from CERN is even more definitive and clear-cut than most of us expected.
“Nobel prizes all round.”
Higgs, now 83, from Edinburgh University was among six theorists who in the early 1960s proposed the existence of a mechanism by which matter in the universe gained mass. Higgs himself argued that if there were an invisible field responsible for the process, it must be made up of particles.