If you were hoping last week to learn one of the greatest secrets of the cosmos, you'll have to wait a little longer. Scientists said they were close but couldn't yet conclude they'd found the Higgs boson, aka "the God particle." That's the invisible field that scientists believe fills the universe like a vat of molasses and gives elementary particles their size and weight.
The quest is the latest chapter in a century-long story line that physicists have pieced together to explain the universe. Tiny particles (atoms) give way to even tinier particles (protons and neutrons) which give way to things that can't be seen individually (quarks) ... all endowed with different weights and sizes by this (allegedly) pervasive field named after University of Edinburgh physicist Peter Higgs.
It could be that after years of smashing together particles in supercolliders and looking for clues, physicists are close to comprehending the deepest layers of reality, "rewriting ... the very definition of nothingness," as Columbia University physics professor Brian Greene wrote in The New York Times.