The hunt for the Higgs particle is well ahead of schedule, say researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Earlier this year they said they would either discover the Higgs or confirm it does not exist by the end of 2012.
Now, because the machine is working so well, an LHC spokesman, Professor Guido Tonelli, has told BBC News that the search could be completed much sooner.
The Higgs Boson is the particle that in the physics "Standard Model" allows other particles to have mass.
Discovery or elimination of the particle is one of the LHC's major objectives; and it could come as early as Christmas 2011.
"We could discover the Standard Model version of the Higgs Boson or exclude it earlier than expected. Could we discover it by Christmas? In principle, yes," said Professor Tonelli
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