On Wednesday, physicists at the multinational research center CERN in Geneva confirmed the rumors: they had discovered a new subatomic particle which by all appearances resembles a Higgs boson. The long-theorized Higgs boson, predicted by the Standard Model of physics but never observed, is thought to convey mass to all other particles. Does this discovery truly mark the end of a long search, or is it just the tip of a new iceberg? We discuss the findings, and what they might tell us about the nature of matter.
"I'm a theorist. I've been telling people for many years, 'There can't be a theory without the Higgs boson that explains what we know about the subnuclear reactions. So [Higgs boson has] got to be there as far as I'm concerned. Either it's heavy or it's light. This thing that's been discovered, this new particle, it's, by the way, I really wanted to say, whatever it is, it is a particle unlike any other elementary particle that we know. So, it is truly a discovery. Whether it’s the Higgs boson or not, it’s something completely new to particle physics. If it is the Higgs boson, it fits into the definite place in our theories, and something has to be in that place. So if this is not the Higgs boson, the Higgs boson is somewhere else and very nearby. Quite likely the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) will turn it up in its further running for more data. Either way it's fascinating."
-- Michael Peskin
"It's a really fundamental particle unlike any other, and without it, our universe will not be at all as we have it today. We would have no stars, no galaxy, no humans, no atoms—none of it."