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On 9 December last year, as John Conway looked at the results of his experiment, a chill ran down his neck. For 20 years he has been searching for one of the most elusive things in the universe, the Higgs boson - aka the God particle - which gives everything in the cosmos its mass. And here, buried in the debris generated by the world's largest particle smasher, were a few tantalising hints of its existence.