Particle physicists attempt to close in on the Higgs boson, the Great White Whale of modern science.
On July 4, 2012, scientists at the giant atom smashing facility at CERN announced the discovery of a subatomic particle that seems like a tantalizingly close match to the elusive Higgs Boson, thought to be responsible for giving all the stuff in the universe its mass. Since it was first proposed nearly fifty years ago, the Higgs has been the holy grail of particle physicists: if they can find it, it will validate the "standard model" that underlies all of modern physics. CERN's scientists are still scrutinizing the results from July to see how well they fit the Higgs prediction. If the data conceals surprises, they could upend much of what we thought we knew about the particles and forces that make up our universe.