Peter Higgs, the 82-year-old British theoretical physicist who first proposed the existence of the particle in 1964 as the missing link of a grand theory of matter and energy, was watching the announcement on a webcast with colleagues at Edinburgh University, where he is an emeritus professor.
"I won't be going home to open a bottle of whisky to drown my sorrows, but on the other hand I won't be going home to open a bottle of champagne either," his colleague Alan Walker quoted him as saying after the announcement.
The leaders of two experiments, Atlas and CMS, revealed their findings to a packed seminar at the CERN physics research centre near Geneva, where they have tried to find traces of the elusive boson by smashing particles together at near light-speed in the Large Hadron Collider.
The experiments generated such excitement by independently reaching very similar conclusions. But the scientists were quick to warn that their results have not yet reached the level of certainty that would let them claim a discovery -- hence Higgs's caution.