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Particle hunt off, collider comes down

12:35pm, November 9, 2004

Hints of a major particle discovery couldn't stop the wrecking crew. Scene of an all-out push this fall to find signs of the so-called Higgs boson, the Large Electron Positron (LEP) collider is now "an official demolition site," says Neil Calder, spokesman for the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), LEP's home near Geneva.

Although LEP was slated for dismantling to make way for a more powerful collider, CERN had extended its life in September after scientists caught what appeared to be glimpses of the long-sought Higgs (SN: 9/23/00, p. 196: Most-Wanted Particle Appears, Perhaps). Because it presumably bestows mass on other particles, the Higgs is central to physics theory.

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