SA scientists lauded over Higgs Boson research

Scientists at the CERN experiment revealed the discovery on Wednesday, calling it a new dawn for physics.

British physicist Peter Higgs arrives for the opening of a seminar to deliver the latest update in the 50-year bid to explain a riddle of fundamental matter in the search for a particle called the Higgs Boson at CERN. Picture: AFP/Pool/Denis Balibouse

JOHANNESBURG - The Science and Technology Department has described its great pride that South Africans were involved in the search for the illusive Higgs Boson particle on Wednesday.

Scientists at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) experiment revealed the discovery on Wednesday, calling it a "new dawn for physics".

The so-called "God particle" is believed to create mass and could unlock the secrets of gravity and dark matter.

"It is important for us to realise that our scientists are part actually part of this ground-breaking experiment," said the department's Daniel Adams.

University of Johannesburg student Claire Lee spent a year at CERN and said it was amazing to be a part of the process.

"I was in a meeting room just above the Atlas control room with a bunch of the other people and everybody was glued to the screen."

The particle was proposed by doctor Peter Higgs some 50 years ago.

CERN's findings were unveiled via videolink from Geneva at a landmark conference attended by hundreds of the field's top experts.

Scientists went into a frenzy following the announcement, speculating that it could one day make light speed travel possible by "un-massing" objects or allow huge items to be launched into space by "switching off" the Higgs.