Corralling the Mass Maker: Hunting ground shifts for elusive particle | Science News

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Corralling the Mass Maker: Hunting ground shifts for elusive particle

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9:29am, June 9, 2004

It was the year 2000, and scientists at a European particle collider observed possible traces of the subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson-the presumed origin of mass itself and the most-wanted quarry in high-energy physics today. Despite a feverish search for confirming evidence, they came up empty-handed (SN: 12/9/00, p. 381). Perhaps they were looking in the wrong place.

In the June 10 Nature, researchers at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Ill., report that the mass that physicists had assigned to a different subatomic particle, the top quark, is too low. That may have misled scientists in their hunt for the Higgs boson.

Using a newly refined value for the top quark's

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