What's the Latest Development?

A press conference scheduled for December 13 at Europe's Large Hadron Collider has the physics world on the edge of its seat. Scientists at the world's largest particle accelerator will update the world on their search for the Higgs boson, a particle which, following from the Standard Model, endows matter with mass. "Whatever happens eventually with the Higgs, I think we'll look back on this meeting and say, 'This was the beginning of something,'" said Joe Lykken, a physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.

What's the Big Idea?

If evidence supporting the Higgs' existence is found, and depending on the particle's mass, several fundamental questions about the nature of our universe could soon have solutions. If it has a mass of 125 billion electron volts, some physicists say it would confirm the supersymmetry theory, an extension of the Standard Model. And if supersymmetry were true, it would "answer numerous open questions, beginning with the nature of dark matter, the unseen mass that keeps galaxies rotating faster than they otherwise would."