Finding the Higgs boson

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Forty-eight years after British physicist Peter Higgs predicted its existence, the Higgs boson was finally spotted by scientists at the CERN lab in Geneva.The “God particle” explains the existence of mass and backs up the Standard Model, the foundational theory of modern physics. “For physicists, this is the equivalent of Columbus discovering America,” says physicist Themis Bowcock.

The Higgs is evidence that an invisible energy field-activated shortly after the big bang, 13.7 billion years ago—permeates the universe. Without it, all particles would zip chaotically through space like the mass-less photons that make up light.The Higgs field slows down certain types of particles, creating stars, planets, and life.