After much excitement, the Force has not been found. But don't be sad, my fellow nerds. Scientists may not have found evidence of the Higgs boson yet, but they have discovered "tantalising hints" that may indicate its presence.
According to CERN, "these are not yet strong enough to claim a discovery" but they have been recorded. They have discovered that the elusive particle is "most likely to have a mass constrained to the range 116-130 GeV." This mass region shows "unexplainable excesses on these decay channels" that may be caused by the Higgs boson. However, there is not enough data to confirm that just yet.
The Higgs boson is a hypothetical massive elementary particle that should exist according to the Standard Model. In theory, this particle is everywhere, permeating all of reality. The existence of this particle would be part of the answer to a very important question: why do particles have mass?
The scientists at the Large Hadron Collider now say that they would have a definitive answer to the the existence or non-existence of the Higgs boson later in 2012. They will be gathering new data during the next few months using the ATLAS and CMS experiments:
"As of today what we see is consistent either with a background fluctuation or with the presence of the boson. Refined analyses and additional data delivered in 2012 by this magnificent machine will definitely give an answer."
But what happens if they find proof of its non-existence? Would the universe disappear in a poof of smoke and confetti? Fortunately, scientists are kind of like Groucho Marx: if they can't prove a theory, they have others:
"A non-Standard Model Higgs, currently beyond the reach of the LHC experiments with data so far recorded, would immediately open the door to new physics, whereas the absence of a Standard Model Higgs would point strongly to new physics at the LHC's full design energy, set to be achieved after 2014."
That's the beauty of science: you have to prove your theories beyond any doubt. [CERN]