To cheers and standing ovations from scientists, the world's biggest atom smasher claimed the discovery of a new subatomic particle Wednesday, calling it "consistent" with the long-sought Higgs boson -- popularly known as the "God particle" -- that helps explain what gives all matter in the universe size and shape.
"We have now found the missing cornerstone of particle physics," Rolf Heuer, director of the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), told scientists.
He said the newly discovered subatomic particle is a boson, but he stopped just shy of claiming outright that it is the Higgs boson itself -- an extremely fine distinction.
"As a layman, I think we did it," he told the elated crowd. "We have a discovery. We have observed a new particle that is consistent with a Higgs boson."
The Higgs boson, which until now has been a theoretical particle, is seen as the key to our understanding of why matter has mass, which combines with gravity to give an object weight. The idea is much like gravity and Isaac Newton's discovery of it: Gravity was there all the time before Newton explained it. But now scientists know what a boson is and can put that knowledge to further use.
Yet another incredible step forward for science out of the darkness of ignorance. This is an amazing time to be alive, and one that I hope truly signifies a new era of enlightenment.
Just imagine how much we can learn about our origins and the building blocks of the universe with this new knowledge to guide us?
Update: I think Neil DeGrasse Tyson is undoubtedly happy with the discovery but less happy about what it ways about our country.