Leading article: Fringe benefits of the God particle

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Recent experiments using the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, near Geneva, hold out the hope that the Higgs boson (nicknamed "the God Particle") may soon be discovered. Proof of its existence would confirm the Standard Model of elementary particles. This would be a Nobel-worthy triumph for physicists, but, at a cost of billions, might seem to the rest of us a rarified and pointless endeavour. It is true there would be no instant practical benefit, but it is worth recalling that since 1900 research into the nature of the atom has created or assisted in the development of television, lasers, electronics, solar power, nuclear energy, radiotherapy, MRI and PET scanners, and the World Wide Web.

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