The Higgs boson eluded scientists for more than 40 years. But on July 4, 2012, two independent teams of scientists jointly announced the discovery of a previously unseen boson hiding in the collision data of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. After several months of careful analysis, the scientists identified this new particle as the Higgs boson.
The Higgs particle is a byproduct of the Higgs field—an expanse that permeates the entire universe and imparts mass to other fundamental particles. Predicted independently by several theorists in the 1960s, the Higgs rounds out the Standard Model, a time-tested theory that explains how particles and forces behave at the subatomic scale.
The discovery of the Higgs boson is major triumph for physicists all over the world—including scientists in the United States, whose scientists play a key role in both its prediction and discovery. But the discovery of the Higgs boson is only the beginning. Further analysis will allow physicists to place the Higgs boson in the greater context of the Standard Model and continue to probe for new particles and fundamental laws of nature.