Has the elusive 'God particle' been detected?
London: There is a buzz among the physics community that the world's largest atom smasher has picked up signals that could be the long sought after particle, known as the "God particle".
A leaked internal memo contains unconfirmed reports that one of the detectors at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, near Geneva, had detected the most elusive subatomic particle, called the Higgs boson, the Telegraph reported.
One of the main scientific goals of the six-billion-pound atom smasher was to prove the existence of the Higgs boson, a theoretical particle believed to give everything in the universe mass.
The particle is a key part of the standard model used in physics to describe how particles and atoms are made up.
Rumours that scientists at the LHC have found evidence of the Higgs boson started to circulate after an supposed internal memo was posted on the Internet.
But physicists were quick to urge caution over the claims as many candidates for the particle that appear in collision experiments at the LHC are subsequently dismissed on further examination.
Officials at CERN said the result had not yet been properly verified and could turn out to be a false alarm.
The memo, written by four scientists working on the LHC's ATLAS experiment, revealed that one of the particle detectors at the LHC had caught a particle that could be a Higgs boson decaying into other two high-energy particles known as photons.
The memo warned the rate at which this happened was 30 times larger than would have been expected.
However, it added: "The present result is the first definitive observation of physics beyond the standard model.
"Exciting new physics, including new particles, may be expected to be found in the very near future."
Some scientists initially said they believed the memo could have been a hoax, but it was confirmed as genuine by officials at CERN.
James Gillies, official spokesman for CERN, said that while the results note was genuine, it was one of thousands constantly being produced by scientists and that is was still in the very early stages of assessment.
"It is far too early to say if there is anything to it or not. There are 3,000 scientists working on ATLAS and they divide the analysis work up between them," he said.
"This is an internal communication that highlights something interesting, but it has to go through several stages of assessment by the scientific team before it will be released as an official result by the collaborative team."
The memo first appeared on the blog of physicist Peter Woit, from Columbia University.
"It's the sort of thing you would expect to see if there were a Higgs at that mass, but the number of events seen is about 30 times more than the standard model would predict," he had written.