Physicists on Higgs hunt: Nearly there but not yet

Mar 06, 2013, 3:26 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Physicists in Italy said Wednesday they are closer to concluding that what they found last year was the elusive "God particle." But they still haven't reached that "Eureka moment" when they can announce the Higgs boson is found.

The long theorized subatomic particle would explain why matter has mass and has been called a missing cornerstone of physics.

Last July scientists with the world's largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, announced finding a particle they described as Higgs-like. Since then, confirmation has been sought.

Physicists gave an update of their work Wednesday at a conference in the Italian Alps. They are trying to be sure that the particle that was found has no spin, essential for Higgs confirmation. The new analysis shows scientists are close but not there yet.