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Are scientists close to uncovering the Higgs boson?

Researchers analyzing data from Fermilab's now-defunct Tevatron particle accelerator say that they may have glimpsed evidence of the elusive Higgs boson, the so-called God particle thought to be responsible for giving all other particles mass. 

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"The end game is approaching in the hunt for the Higgs boson," said Jim Siegrist, the associate director of Science for High Energy Physics at the U.S Department of Energy, which funds the Tevatron experiments. "This is an important milestone for the Tevatron experiments, and demonstrates the continuing importance of independent measurements in the quest to understand the building blocks of nature."

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Both Tevatron and the LHC search for the Higgs by accelerating particles to near the speed of light inside giant underground rings. When two speeding particles collide head-on, they produce energetic explosions that can give rise to exotic particles, some of which may never have been seen before.

The new results, which come from two experiments at Tevatron called CDF and DZero, were announced today (March 7) at the Rencontres de Moriond conference in Italy.

"I am thrilled with the pace of progress in the hunt for the Higgs boson," said Fermilab director Pier Oddone."CDF and DZero scientists from around the world have pulled out all the stops to reach this very nice and important contribution to the Higgs boson search. The two collaborations independently combed through hundreds of trillions of proton-antiproton collisions recorded by their experiments to arrive at this exciting result."

Tevatron's findings are in a way a cry from the grave. The accelerator is no longer running — it was shut down for good last fall after an 18-year career. The new results were gleaned from data gathered over the last few years before the facility was retired.

You can follow LiveScience senior writer Clara Moskowitz on Twitter @ClaraMoskowitz. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.

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