THE retired professor who gave his name to the elusive "God particle" said it was "very nice to be right".

Teams at the £2.6 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva said on Tuesday they had found a new particle "consistent" with the Higgs boson.

The discovery was described as "momentous" and "a milestone". But the results are preliminary and more work is needed before scientists can be sure about what they have captured.

Professor Peter Higgs, 83, the retired British physicist from Edinburgh University, hit on the concept of the Higgs mechanism in 1964 while walking in the Cairngorms. He could now be eligible for a Nobel Prize.

Asked whether he felt a sense of vindication, he said: "It's very nice to be right sometimes."

He added: "At the beginning I had no idea whether a discovery would be made in my lifetime because we knew so little at the beginning about where this particle might be in mass, and therefore how high an energy machine would have to go before it could be discovered.

"It's been a very long development over the years of the technology of building machines at higher and higher energy, and the LHC is the one which has been energetic enough and also intense enough in terms of the particle beams to do it.

"It's been a long wait but it might have been even longer, I might not have been still around."