Building block of the universe is discovered

Police outside student accommodation in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth on Friday Picture Ben Fishwick

Man arrested in Portsmouth explosives probe at Stanhope Road student block is released by police

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PHYSICISTS in Portsmouth spoke of their excitement – and relief – as one of the biggest-ever breakthroughs in science was announced.

It comes as scientists have discovered a new particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs Boson.

The particle has been the subject of a 45-year hunt to explain how matter attains mass.

The Higgs Boson acts like a glue and without it the universe would be a vast ‘soup’ of particles with no gravity.

No planets, stars, or indeed life, would exist without it.

The latest research comes from CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, which is home to the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.

Scientists use the LHC to smash together protons at almost the speed of light and scour the debris for traces of particles.

Professor David Wands, from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at Portsmouth University, said he felt some relief as without Higgs Boson the accepted laws of physics would have to be unravelled.

‘It’s the last piece of the lego set for the universe,’ he said.

‘There’s a buzz here and I am sure in physics departments up and down the country.’

Havant MP David Willetts, the government’s science minister, said: ‘This news is a breakthrough in world science.

‘The UK has made an enormous contribution over the last 20 years supporting the search for the Higgs Boson.’