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Tantalizing hints of long-sought particle

European collider finds traces of what could be the Higgs boson

3:19pm, December 13, 2011

The world’s most powerful atom smasher has given physicists a tantalizing — but inconclusive — hint that the long-sought Higgs particle actually exists.

The Higgs is the last undiscovered elementary particle predicted by the standard model, physicists’ leading framework for describing the constituents of matter and transmitters of force. Its discovery would confirm the theory that matter particles acquire their mass by interacting with a pervasive Higgs field occupying all space.

Speaking in front of a packed auditorium, two

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