A Higgs particle has been spotted. Fifty years ago a number of theoretical physicists suggested a way to augment the developing standard model of particle physics with a new mechanism that involved a particle since dubbed the Higgs boson. That particle interacts not only with gauge bosons, as in its original formulation, but also with quarks and other fundamental fermions, endowing those entities with mass. A half-century after its proposal, the elusive Higgs, or something much like it, has now been observed. In a symposium and press conference held at CERN last month, ATLAS and CMS collaboration scientists affirmed that they had seen the particle at a mass of about 125 GeV. At the end of 2011, the two groups had announced tantalizing hints of the Higgs—resonance peaks three standard deviations above background (see Physics Today, February 2012, page 16). In the intervening months, the groups have doubled...

You do not currently have access to this content.