A group of Notre Dame physicists were part of an international team of scientists who discovered a particle that may be key to understanding the origin of the universe.
Early Wednesday morning The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced the discovery of a particle it believes is Higgs boson.
"What we found today [Wednesday] is what the origin of mass is. Without this Higgs field there would be no universe," said Colin Jessop, a professor of Experimental Particle Physics at Notre Dame.
Jessop and several other professors helped scientists at CERN. They also worked with Notre Dame students and high school students in the extension program to build part of the camera that captured the discovery.
"If this particle that we've discovered turns out to really be the Higgs boson then we've kind of finished off one of the greatest theories that we've ever created, which would be an exciting thing," said Kevin Lannon, an Asst. Professor of Elementary Particle Physics at Notre Dame.
Scientists at CERN used a massive collider to crash particle beams together, a smaller version of the Big Bang, and captured the illusive Higgs boson.
"It's the start of really learning a whole new aspect of the universe," explained Lannon.
Scientists are 99.999 percent positive the discovery is Higgs boson, but several years of testing is needed to be completely positive. Once they are certain additional discovery and application can begin.
"What happens is one generation of scientists creates the knowledge, the fundamental physics laws and the next generation applies them," said Jessop. "We've created this knowledge and we expect the next generation of scientists, will take this knowledge and do some useful things with this."