Scientists rarely say they are absolutely sure of something, but physicists gathered in Australia for a high-level conference on Wednesday seemed certain that a missing piece in their understanding of all the fundamental particles of nature and their interaction had been found.

“It’s something that we are very sure of,” Melbourne University physicist Geoff Taylor said of research into the Higgs boson particle conducted in Geneva and announced simultaneously in Geneva and Melbourne.

Delegates to the Melbourne conference cheered when the results were released.

“We’re still a little bit guarded about the full properties of this thing, [but] the first analysis of the results from the last six months really show that it has all the properties we would expect so far of a Higgs boson,” Mr. Taylor told the national broadcaster ABC.

The professor has led Australia’s contribution to work at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, where the research was conducted, since 1989.

He explained that the standard model that physicists had worked with for more than 40 years could be confirmed as correct by the Higgs boson.

“The standard model has been very good in reproducing all the experiments up until now,” he said. “The symmetry is not perfect. It’s broken, and the breaking-up of this symmetry... is the evidence of the Higgs boson, which in turn would be the evidence of the Higgs field.

“This Higgs field, which is giving us a little bit of the breaking up of this symmetry, is the beauty spot on the perfect face of the standard model that describes all the fundamental particles of nature and their interaction.”

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