To cheers and standing ovations from scientists, the world's biggest atom smasher claimed the discovery of a new subatomic particle today, calling it "consistent" with the long-sought Higgs boson. CERN's director said the newly discovered subatomic particle is a boson, but he stopped just shy of claiming outright that it is the Higgs boson itself—an extremely fine distinction.
"As a layman, I think we did it. We have now found the missing cornerstone of particle physics. We have observed a new particle that is consistent with a Higgs boson." His comments came as the leaders of two teams comprised of a total of 5,100 scientists each presented in complicated scientific terms what was essentially extremely strong evidence of a new particle. One called it "a Higgs-like particle" and said "we know it must be a boson and it's the heaviest boson ever found." The Higgs boson, which until now has been a theoretical particle, is seen as the key to our understanding of why matter has mass, which combines with gravity to give an object weight. (Read more Higgs boson stories.)