Maryann Tobin

It is said to be the answer to the Big Bang theory that explains the creation of the universe. Scientists believe they may have discovered it on Wednesday.

Known in scientific circles as Higgs boson, or the God particle, its discovery would be an historic achievement.

So what is the God particle, and have scientists really discovered it?

Higgs boson is a subatomic particle that exists for a fraction of a second during the process of the creation of mass.

Scientists at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, located on the border between France and Switzerland, have been sending atoms through a 17 mile-long tube at near light speed for decades, in an effort to recreate the so-called Big Bang theory of the creation of the universe.

On Wednesday, scientists believed that they found the God particle.

"We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of 5 sigma, in the mass region of 126 GeV," said Fabiola Gianotti, the head of one of the two main research teams responsible for the findings,” according to a Time report.

The theory is that the God particle, or Higgs boson, is the part of a sub-atomic process that actually creates the molecules that form mass, which binds objects together. Higgs published his theory in 1964.

“One way to think about it is that the (energy) field sticks to the particles, slowing them down and imparting mass,” according to the Los Angles Times.

There is good reason for the excitement over the potential for the God particle discovery. In simplistic terms, it means that we now know how tiny atoms become large objects with gravity.

"We have found the missing cornerstone of particle physics," CERN director Rolf Heuer told Time. "We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature."

The discovery of the God particle can explain how the entire universe was formed.

“It's the physical proof of an invisible, universe-wide field that gave mass to all matter right after the Big Bang, forcing particles to coalesce into stars, planets, and everything else,” according to Business Insider.

“If the Higgs field and Higgs boson didn't exist, the dominant Standard Model of particle physics would be wrong. No Higgs, no mass; no mass, no you, me, or anything else," says Jeffrey Kluger at TIME.

No doubt, advances in computer technology played a huge role in recreating the God particle in an artificial environment. And who knows with certainty what lies ahead, as we further decode the secrets of subatomic physics and its force in the universe.

For now, science has an achievement. But one discovery almost always leads to another, and another. So Higgs boson is really more a beginning than the end of the road for the 50-year-old Big Bang theory.

Video: Confirmed: CERN discovers new particle likely to be the Higgs boson