- Scientists say they've found new evidence the Higgs boson exists
- The so-called "God particle" is thought to be a building block of the universe
- The theoretical particle is key to understanding how universe works, experts say
Since 2012 researchers have made great strides in the hunt for the so-called "God particle" at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, where scientists at the CERN particle physics laboratory are looking for particles that slip into existence when subatomic particles crash into one another at high energies.
Experts say finding the elusive particle would rank as one of the top scientific achievements of the past 50 years - a view proved on Tuesday when Francois Englert and Peter Higgs, the two physicists who predicted almost 50 years ago that the particle existed, won the Nobel Prize in Physics.
What is the Higgs boson?
The Standard Model of particle physics lays out the basics of how elementary particles and forces interact in the universe. But the theory crucially fails to explain how particles actually get their mass.
Particles, or bits of matter, range in size and can be larger or smaller than atoms. Electrons, protons and neutrons, for instance, are the subatomic particles that make up an atom.
Scientists believe that the Higgs boson is the particle that gives all matter its mass.
Experts know that elementary particles like quarks and electrons are the foundation upon which all matter in the universe is built. They believe the elusive Higgs boson gives the particles mass and fills in one of the key holes in modern physics.
How does the Higgs boson work?
The Higgs boson is part of a theory first proposed by Higgs and others in the 1960s to explain how particles obtain mass.
The theory proposes that a so-called Higgs energy field exists everywhere in the universe. As particles zoom around in this field, they interact with and attract Higgs bosons, which cluster around the particles in varying numbers.