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Signs of mass-giving particle get stronger

Signals from a particle collider near Geneva suggested in September that scientists might have sighted a long-sought particle thought to be the source of mass itself. Those hints of the so-called Higgs boson were enough to postpone the permanent shut-down of the 11-year-old Large Electron Positron (LEP) collider until Nov. 2 (SN: 9/23/00, p. 196: Most-Wanted Particle Appears, Perhaps). A new hint of the Higgs has cropped up in that extended run.

The new data have bolstered the possibility that the particle is within reach. Besides its allure as the origin of mass, the Higgs is also a prominent experimental target because it's the last particle predicted by the central theory, or standard model, of particle physics that hasn't yet been found.

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