Professor Sir Peter Knight, President of the Institute of Physics (IOP), has asserted that the discovery of the Higgs is as significant to physics as the discovery of DNA was to biology.
He said, "This is the physics version of the discovery of DNA. It sets the course for a brand new adventure in our efforts to understand the fabric of our universe."
His comments follow an announcement by British researchers from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN that they have found a new particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson.
The UK announcement was linked to a seminar held at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, where the latest results from the ATLAS and CMS experiments were revealed.
The results from both experiments show strong indications for the presence of a new particle in the mass region around 125-126 GeV.
Professor Sir Peter Knight continued, "This is a remarkable achievement. Fifteen years of international collaboration and hard work constructing the Large Hadron Collider has paid off.
"This announcement assures us that the Standard Model is correct, like testing that your spacecraft is capable of reaching the Moon, we can now start to explore where the spacecraft takes us, delving deeper and deeper into the Standard Model.
"Akin to a Moon mission, one of the most remarkable things about the hunt for the Higgs is how the effort has caught the public imagination. Not since the Apollo missions 40 years ago has there been such a sense of popular excitement around scientific discovery. Long may this continue to inspire the next generation of scientists."
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The Institute of Physics (http://www.iop.org) is a leading scientific society promoting physics and bringing physicists together for the benefit of all. It has a worldwide membership of around 40,000 comprising physicists from all sectors, as well as those with an interest in physics. It works to advance physics research, application and education; and engages with policymakers and the public to develop awareness and understanding of physics. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in professional scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics.