In July, scientists announced that they'd discovered what they strongly suspected to be the Higgs Boson, a particle that's believed to be the key to unifying the standard and quantum models of physics. In August more experiments made the finding more certain — and now, the results have been peer-reviewed and published, making them, for want of a better term, real science.
While nobody every doubted the work of the CERN scientists, the results being vetted by peers and then published in an established journal act as a kind of rubber stamp. The results, as far as the scientific community are concerned, are accurate; the science is reasonable. The discovery, in other words, is valid.
As we've reported before, the scientists have to demonstrate a high level of certainty in their results for the work to be published. The initial results from July pinned a 5-sigma level of certainty to the finding: in other words, that there was a one-in-3.5 million chance that the finding was a fluke. Now, the researchers are confident that there's less than a one-in-300 million chance that the Higgs does not exist.
Physics Letters B was where British physicist Peter Higgs first published a letter in 1964, titled "Broken symmetries, massless particles and gauge fields," that initially sparked the hunt for the boson. Now, that chapter of physics is almost at a close. [Physics Letters B (1) (2)]