A graphic showing traces of collision of particles at the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experience is pictured with a slow speed experience at Universe of Particles exhibition of the the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Exotic particles made headlines again and again in 2012, making it no surprise that the scientific breakthrough of the year was a big physics finding in a small package: confirmation of the Higgs boson. Hypothesized more than 40 years ago, the elusive particle completes the standard model of physics, and could be the key to how other fundamental particles obtain mass. The only mystery that remains is whether its discovery marks a new dawn for particle physics or the final stretch of a friend that has run its course. Space shuttle Endeavour’s relocation to the California Science Center captivated Los Angeles, dodging bridges, trees and power lines at a 2 mile-per-hour pace to complete its final journey. NASA’s Curiousity Mars rover landed on the red planet after ‘Seven Minutes of Terror,’ and a $2.5 billion mission. And SpaceX became the first privately-held company to launch a spacecraft that reached the International Space Station.
Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and Executive Director of the Skeptics Society
Phil Yam, Managing Editor, Online for Scientific American
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