The discovery of a new particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson, the so-called "God particle," has been named the "Breakthrough of the Year" by Science Magazine. The particle was discovered by scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) using the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator, and the discovery was announced on July 4 at a particle physics conference.
As Adrian Cho writes for Science:
That feat marks an intellectual, technological, and organizational triumph. To produce the Higgs, researchers at the European particle physics laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, built the $5.5 billion, 27-kilometer-long LHC. To spot the Higgs, they built gargantuan particle detectors—ATLAS, which is 25 meters tall and 45 meters long, and CMS, which weighs 12,500 tonnes. The ATLAS and CMS teams boast 3000 members each. More than 100 nations have a hand in the LHC.
The Large Hadron Collider has now entered its winter shutdown period
for maintenance and will boot back up in 2013 for a period of a few weeks, then enter a longer shutdown until 2015.