After huge anticipation scientists at the CERN research center in Switzerland have confirmed the "discovery" of the Higgs boson, an elusive particle needed to answer some of the questions regarding the creation of the universe.
"We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature," CERN director general Rolf Heuer told a gathering of scientists and journalists on Wednesday.
Heuer added: "The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle's properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe."
Two independent research groups examined data that was produced by crashing proton particles together at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. When analyzed the scientists determined that the signature of an unidentified particle resembled that of the highly sought after Higgs boson particle, but it is still unclear if the new particle is exactly the Higgs boson as it was described.
The Higgs boson is the missing particle that would unify a theory that explains how particles close together in the universe form stars, planets and perhaps life itself. Researchers contend that without the Higgs boson, the universe would have remained without form as particles traveled around the universe at the speed of light.
"It's been an incredible project over two decades. It has involved around 3,300 scientists to get to this result ... These results are now global and shared by the whole of mankind." Joe Incandela, a spokesman for one of the CERN teams explained.
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It is the last undiscovered piece of the Standard Model that describes the fundamental make-up of the universe, thought to be the biggest missing piece concerning the creation of the universe to date.
"This is a big day for science and for human achievement ... Today moves us a step closer to a fuller understanding of the very stuff of which the universe is made," said Paul Nurse, president of Britain's science academy The Royal Society.