Higgs boson-like 'God particle' discovered

Updated: 2012-07-07 08:08

(Agencies in London and Beijing)

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The British scientist who gave his name to what is likely to be the Higgs boson particle spoke of his delight at the discovery on Friday, saying it was "nice to be right sometimes".

Professor Peter Higgs was making his first detailed public comments since researchers at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, announced on Wednesday they believe they have found the sub-atomic particle thought to confer mass on matter.

The announcement came following nearly 50 years of research after Higgs published the conceptual groundwork for the elusive particle, nicknamed the "God particle" because it is powerful and everywhere, in 1964.

Asked at a news conference at Edinburgh University if he now felt a sense of vindication, Higgs said: "It's very nice to be right sometimes... it has certainly been a long wait."

The modest 83-year-old also brushed off suggestions he would now be in the running for a Nobel Prize as a result of the discovery.

"I don't know, I don't have close friends on the Nobel committee," he said, when questioned about an honor which academics including Professor Stephen Hawking have suggested he should receive.

Asked what he was going to do next, Higgs said he was simply looking forward to continuing his retirement.

"The only problem, I think, will be that I shall have to dodge the press," he quipped.

Chinese contribution

Chinese scientists have made "important" contributions in hunting the "God particle," in cooperation with the CERN, a Chinese research body said on Thursday.

Sources from the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said China has provided about one-hundredth of the funds and manpower used to run the experiments.

Chinese scientists have played an important role in building particle detectors and creating methods for physical analysis, the institute said.

A method of enhancing the sensitivity of the detectors, created by a Chinese research team, was adopted for the experiments, said Chen Guoming, an institute researcher who has participated in the experiments.

"It will take a long time to confirm the discovery," Chen said, adding that a new electron-positron collider may be required to conduct further studies.

Experts said that although the discovery marks a milestone in physics, another year of research will be required to confirm the results.

The new particle shares many of the same qualities as the one predicted by Higgs, who was invited to attend Wednesday's celebration at the European center.

The hunt for the Higgs boson has been a focus of particle physics research for decades. Scientists believe the particle has always existed and that discovering it is merely a matter of time.

More than 30 nations, including the United States, Japan, France, Switzerland, Italy and China, have participated in the experiments using the European center's Large Hadron Collider, which is located outside Geneva along the Swiss-French border.

AFP - Xinhua

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