The Sciences

Higgs Boson Found... For Real!

Physicists confirm that their 2012 Higgs discovery was the real thing.

By Adam HadhazyJan 29, 2014 12:26 PM
higgs-boson-found.jpg
In 2012, particle collisions at Europe's Large Hadron Collider uncovered the long-sought Higgs boson, which is thought to be directly correlated with the strength of gravity. | ThomasMcCauley and Lucas Taylor/CMS Collection/CERN

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The apparent bagging of the Higgs boson — the long-sought “God” particle that endows all matter with mass, as well as its hypothesizers with a Nobel prize — topped Discover’s 2012 Year in Science list. But it wasn’t until 2013 that physicists at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) confirmed that the elusive particle they’d nabbed was in fact a Higgs. 

To ascertain its identity, they analyzed 2.5 times more LHC data than they needed for the particle’s discovery. The results revealed that the particle discovered in 2012 has the quantum properties predicted for the Higgs: zero spin (a measure of angular momentum) and positive parity (a measure of how the particle’s mirror image behaves).

[This article originally appeared in print as "Higgs Boson Found...For Real!"]

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