Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) say they've discovered a new "Higgs-like" particle: a bundle of energy that has most of the trappings of the long-sought Higgs boson. They're not naming the newcomer outright, because there are subtle indications that the particle may not, in fact, be the plain old Higgs itself, but rather a close doppelganger.
Don't let that disappoint you. To the contrary, Harvey Newman, a high-energy physicist at the California Institute of Technology and a member of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment (one of two LHC experiments that discovered the new particle), said finding a more exotic variety of Higgs boson is actually "one of the most exciting things that can happen." Here's why.
The Higgs field, with its corresponding Higgs boson, was predicted to exist as the simplest explanation of why all the elementary particles in the universe have mass. In short, the Higgs field is a cosmos-size swimming pool, and everything is swimming in it. Particles that interact strongly with the Higgs field, "like a heavyset man swimming with his clothes on," in the words of John Gunion, a physicist at the University of California at Davis, are heavier than particles that breeze through the pool "like an Olympic swimmer in a wetsuit."