A Dummy Guide to The God's Particle

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Scientists at the CERN research centre near Geneva, Switzerland announced that they had 'discovered a particle consistent with the Higgs boson', which is more popularly known as the God particle. Scratching your head about what this is and what it could mean for mankind? Here a quick tutorial on all you need to know about the same...

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What is Higgs boson? A subatomic particle long sought by physicists. It is believed to be the key particle that held together electrons, protons and neutrons, at the time of the Big Bang. (In picture: In this file photo, a physicist explains the ATLAS experiment on a board at the European Center for Nuclear Research, CERN. The illustration shows what the long-presumed Higgs boson particle is thought to look like.)

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Why is called the God particle? The name was coined by physicist Leon Lederman, but is rarely used by experts. However Lederman felt that the nickname was appropriate, since it was "so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive." (In picture: A wall painting by artist Josef Kristofoletti is seen at the Atlas experiment site at the European Center for Nuclear Research, CERN.)

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What's special about the CERN announcement? The idea of a God particle was first proposed by Scottish physicist Peter Higgs and others in the 1960s. Since then, CERN's atom smasher, a $10 billion Large Hadron Collider, has been creating high-energy collisions of protons to investigate dark matter, antimatter and the creation of the universe. Scientists now say that they have finally been able to capture such a particle and described their discovery as "a momentous day for science". The findings are a 5 sigma result, which means the scientists are 99.99995% sure that their discovery is accurate. (In picture: A graphic showing traces of collision of particles at the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experience is pictured with a slow speed experience at Universe of Particles exhibition.)

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Source : Getty Images Does this mean we're not alone? Hold on Pluto, don't float away just yet. Findings related to the God particle have nothing to do with supernatural forces or other forms of life out there. It however does explain the 'glue' that held together the matter that created the universe before the Big Bang took place 13.7 billion years ago and resulted in the creation of the planet Earth and the solar system we all call home today. (In picture: This image, showing the first all-sky microwave image of the universe soon after the Big Bang, was released by a team of astronomers from NASA and Princeton University in 2003.)

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