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Analysis brings Higgs confirmation closer

UPTON, N.Y., March 14 (UPI) — The new particle detected by the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland last summer is looking more and more like the long-sought Higgs boson, scientists report.

Results of analysis of the LHC data released Thursday bolster confidence the particle discovered is the Standard Model Higgs, U.S. researchers said.

Confirmation of the Higgs, a particle thought to give mass to other elementary particles, could confirm the last remaining piece of the Standard Model of particle physics, a collection of the smallest particles and forces and how they interact to make up the universe, a release from the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York said.

The latest results, released at a conference in Italy, indicate the new particle is matching predictions of the behavior of the Higgs boson, sometimes referred to as the “God particle” because of its fundamental place at the center of physics theory.

“When we discovered the particle, we knew we found something significant,” LHC team member Kyle Cranmer of New York University said. “Now, we’re just trying to establish the properties.”

However, even if the particle is confirmed as the Higgs, it won’t mean the end of physics research and theory, one scientist said.

“Clear evidence that the new particle is the Standard Model Higgs boson still would not complete our understanding of the universe,” Patty McBride, a researcher at Fermilab in Batavia, Ill, said. “We still wouldn’t understand why gravity is so weak and we would have the mysteries of dark matter to confront. But it is satisfying to come a step closer to validating a 48-year-old theory.”

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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