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'Boson' Higgs: Yes, CERN has seen the coming of the God particle

Mighty proton-punisher has indeed unlocked the cosmos

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Boffin Peter Higgs said yesterday that he's confident the particle discovered by the Large Hadron Collider last July was the Higgs boson he first predicted in 1964.

"I think it will turn out to be [the Higgs boson], but it's just a question of getting out the additional information," he told reporters ahead of a speech to the European Parliament.

Fellow physicist Francois Englert, who also developed the theory behind the boson, said although the boson wasn't totally confirmed yet, he was "ready to bet on it", Reuters reported.

Englert and Higgs, who gave a lecture on unlocking the secrets of the universe at the parliament, also warned that proposed cuts to European research budgets were worrying. Higgs said reducing science funding would be "unwise", while Englert said it could be "catastrophic".

"What you do by cutting the science budget is to reduce your supply of young trained scientists who will do other things which are obviously more useful for your economy," Higgs said. "You may be cutting down on things which will provide a stimulus for your economy in the not too distant future."

Both boffins also said there was still plenty to do at the LHC to explore theories of dark matter and prove or disprove the theory of supersymmetry.

"What has been found at CERN looks like so much a good fit to the simplest version of the theory of the standard model that it isn't providing any hints of what might come next," Higgs added.

Higgs is rumoured to be in the running for the Nobel Prize in physics next year, but said that the committee would have a hard job figuring out which of the co-discoverers to put with him. In a sense, hundreds of people have been involved in finding the Higgs boson, including those who work at LHC as well as the various scientists who contributed to the theories. ®

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