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Surprising Science

Finding the God Particle

Number one on many scientists' 2011 to-do list is to find the Higgs boson—a particle so important to science that it's been dubbed the "God particle."

This fundamental particle, thought to give mass to all particles, has been theorized since 1964, but never detected. That, however, could soon change. “If nature is kind to us we will find it next year,” particle physicist Christoph Rembser told LiveScience. Where is this confidence coming from? Rembser works at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) in Geneva, where the world’s largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, went online in September 2008. Part of the motivation for building this behemoth machine (its underground ring spans 17 miles, or 27 kilometers, in circumference) was to find the Higgs boson.


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