What Is The Large Hadron Collider (LHC)?
(from Wired Science) Hadrons are a class of subatomic particles that includes protons and neutrons. When they collide, they explode into dozens of other particles, even more infinitesimal and fleeting. Atlas, five stories high and one of the most complex experimental apparatuses ever built, is designed to see them all.
The cost: $3 billion and change. The goal: to find one lousy subatomic particle.
Specifically, the Higgs boson, the most elusive speck of matter in the universe. Often called the God particle, it's supposed to be the key to explaining why matter has mass. Physicists believe that Higgs particles generate a kind of soupy ether through which other particles move, picking up drag that translates into mass on the macroscopic scale. The Higgs is the cornerstone of 21st-century physics; it simply has to be there, otherwise the standard model of the universe collapses. ( link )
More information on the theoretical Higgs Boson...
(from the CERN website)
A major breakthrough in particle physics came in the 1970s when physicists realized that there are very close ties between two of the four fundamental forces – namely, the weak force and the electromagnetic force. The two forces can be described within the same theory, which forms the basis of the Standard Model. This ‘unification’ implies that electricity, magnetism, light and some types of radioactivity are all manifestations of a single underlying force called, unsurprisingly, the electroweak force. But in order for this unification to work mathematically, it requires that the force-carrying particles have no mass. We know from experiments that this is not true, so physicists Peter Higgs, Robert Brout and François Englert came up with a solution to solve this conundrum.
They suggested that all particles had no mass just after the Big Bang. As the Universe cooled and the temperature fell below a critical value, an invisible force field called the ‘Higgs field’ was formed together with the associated ‘Higgs boson’. The field prevails throughout the cosmos: any particles that interact with it are given a mass via the Higgs boson. The more they interact, the heavier they become, whereas particles that never interact are left with no mass at all.
This idea provided a satisfactory solution and fitted well with established theories and phenomena. The problem is that no one has ever observed the Higgs boson in an experiment to confirm the theory. Finding this particle would give an insight into why particles have certain mass, and help to develop subsequent physics. The technical problem is that we do not know the mass of the Higgs boson itself, which makes it more difficult to identify. Physicists have to look for it by systematically searching a range of mass within which it is predicted to exist. The yet unexplored range is accessible using the Large Hadron Collider, which will determine the existence of the Higgs boson. If it turns out that we cannot find it, this will leave the field wide open for physicists to develop a completely new theory to explain the origin of particle mass. ( link )
I think that this is a great time to be alive for seekers of answers. Think about it. These experiments have already been successful in observing many new particles as well as recreating mini-bangs within the LHC. That being said I don't believe that this Higgs Boson (God Particle) exists except in the minds of physicists.
I guess that we will know for sure if extra dimensions, dark matter and "God Particles" actually exist in the next several years or less. We'll also know whether or not the standard model of the universe is accurate or pure rubbish.