Physicists from the Atlas and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider announced Thursday that they are "confident" a particle discovered last summer is indeed a Higgs boson.
The long-sought Higgs particle is theorized to give matter its mass, and finding it would fill gaps in the Standard Model of physics. After analyzing the subatomic particle's spin and parity, researchers determined the zero-spin particle is consistent with the Higgs.
Now scientists want to collect more data to determine if this particle is the "plain vanilla" version of the Higgs boson predicted by the Standard Model. Other theories allow room for multiple versions of the Higgs particle. A popular but as-yet unsubstantiated theory called supersymmetry suggests there should be as many as five Higgs particles.
"The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me 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," said CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela.
"This is the start of a new story of physics," said Tony Weidberg, Oxford University physicist and a collaborator on the Atlas experiment.
"This is very exciting because if the spin-zero determination is confirmed, it would be the first elementary particle to have zero spin. So this is really different to anything we have seen before."