Physicists move to quash rumours that God Particle found
Physicists have moved to quash rumours that the elusive Higgs boson - dubbed the God particle - has been detected by a US "atom smasher".
A spokesman for the lab which operated the Tevatron accelerator denied scientists had made a discovery there.
The Tevatron, based at Fermilab in Illinois, is the US rival to Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
The rumours were made public in a blog post by an Italian particle physicist.
But a spokesman for the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) said "There is no merit to the rumours of a Higgs discovery."
Last week, Tommaso Dorigo, who is a physicist at the University of Padua in Italy, wrote on his blog: "It reached my ear, from two different, possibly independent sources, that an experiment at the Tevatron is about to release some evidence of a light Higgs boson signal.
"Some say a three-sigma effect, others do not make explicit claims but talk of a unexpected result."
"Three-sigma" refers to the statistical certainty of the result - a 99.7% likelihood of an accurate measurement.
However, errors and fluctuations in the data mean that high energy physicists require an effect of five-sigma to produce convincing evidence of a discovery.
On Tuesday, physicist and blogger Lubos Motl published more detail on the Tevatron rumours. But he noted that the anonymous source for his information was sceptical of the observation.
Finding the Higgs is the primary aim of the £6bn ($10bn) Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment near Geneva. But the giant particle smasher is not expected to be capable of searching for the signal from a Higgs boson until 2011 at the earliest.