Search for the Higgs Boson Reveals New Particle

ATLAS detector

The ATLAS detector at the LHC

Physicists working on experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland—including many from Brookhaven Lab—announced in July that they have observed a new particle. These preliminary results—based on data collected in 2011 and 2012, with the 2012 data still under analysis—indicate that this particle could be the long-sought Higgs boson, thought to impart mass to matter. A more complete picture will emerge later this year after more data is provided from the experiments.

Scientists have been looking for the Higgs particle for more than two decades to complete and help validate the Standard Model theory that is used to explain the nature of matter. The Standard Model has proven to explain correctly the elementary particles and forces of nature through more than four decades of experimental tests. But it cannot, without the Higgs boson, explain how most of these particles acquire their mass, a key ingredient in the formation of our universe.

“I congratulate the thousands of scientists around the globe for their outstanding work in searching for the Higgs boson,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “The latest results of this search show the benefits of sustained investments in basic science by governments around the world.”

Hundreds of scientists and graduate students from American institutions have played important roles in the search for the Higgs at the LHC. More than 1,700 people from U.S. institutions— including 89 American universities and seven U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories—helped design, build, and operate the LHC accelerator and its detectors. The United States, through DOE’s Office of Science and the National Science Foundation, provides support for research and detector operations at the LHC and also supplies computing for ATLAS and CMS, the two large experiments involved in the Higgs search.

To learn more, read the full press release.

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