GENEVA (AP) - Physicists said Thursday they are now confident they have discovered a crucial subatomic particle known as a Higgs boson - a major discovery that will go a long ways toward helping them explain why the universe is the way it is.
They made the statement following study of the data gathered last year from the world's largest atom-smasher, which lies beneath the Swiss-French border outside Geneva. The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, said that what they found last year was, indeed, a version of what is popularly referred to as the "God particle."
Joe Incandela, who heads one of the two main teams at CERN that each involve several thousand scientists, said in a statement that "it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is."
The long-theorized subatomic particle would explain why matter has mass and has been considered a missing cornerstone of physics.
Last July, scientists with the world's largest atom-smasher announced finding a particle they described as Higgs-like.