But as always in the enticing, exciting, maddening world of particle physics, not only are they not certain they have caught the elusive little bugger, but even if they have, they cannot be sure it is the real Higgs boson. I have similar problems getting hold of the soap in my bath!
For those of you even more flummoxed than usual by my opening paragraph perhaps I should explain that in the ethereal world of quantum physics this slippery particle called Higgs Boson, if only they could pin it down, would be the keystone to the great soaring arch of what the swots call, in a somewhat pedestrian way, the 'Standard Model' of the universe. However, as always with swots, they can never entirely agree on whether or not it's raining let alone anything as mega-complex as the entire universe, so, according to Wiki:
Alternative sources of the Higgs mechanism that do not need the Higgs boson are also possible and would be considered if the existence of the Higgs boson were ruled out. They are known as Higgsless models.
Personally, I find topless models more exciting but there's no accounting for what turns the swots on. As regular readers will know, I am a late developer when it comes to quantum physics (and a lot of other things, too, come to that!) I still have my very dog-eared copy of The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav, a book I only bought because of the title and which quite blew my mind away. It is, I think, still one of the very best books to explain "the New Physics" to idle fellows like me who failed every swots-type exam on offer. By today (it was written in 1979) it must be well behind the times but the fundamentals of this whole new world that exists below the level of the atom remain much the same. I did pursue the subject and have a shelf of books to prove it but in the end there is no getting around the fact that I don't speak the language. By which I mean, I don't 'speak' mathematics'. And without the 'language', even with the help of superb 'translaters' like James Gleik, John Gribben et al, you can never quite get your head round all of it.
Also, and this possible finding of the Higgs boson will confirm my suspicion, that in the end - there is no end! My admiration for the great scientific explorers is boundless - but so is the field in which they are exploring, it seems to me. Perhaps 'field' is the wrong analogy. They seem to me to be more like cave explorers who, having entered a vast, new, dark, mysterious cave and gradually brought up more and more powerful lights to illuminate it, suddenly spot a mousehole over at the far end and, somewhat gloomily I suppose, they realise that there is yet another cave within the cave which they will have to explore.
My admiration for them is total - but I know my limitations and so I will simply cheer them on from the sidelines.