While the LHC’s in the shop for repairs from its massive breakdown last September, an older particle accelerator might beat them to finding the Higgs boson, the fundamental particle thought to give matter mass.

At a conference last week, Tevatron physicists threw down the gauntlet, vowing that by 2011, the Tevatron accelerator (located at Fermi National Accelerator Lab outside Chicago) will be able to definitively prove or disprove the existence of the Higgs boson.

Tevatron is currently the highest-energy particle collider, until the LHC starts up again this November (fingers crossed). The poor, ailing LHC will still maintain its dominance in the search for dark matter, which isn’t Tevatron’s specialty.

Which one will end the universe is still up for grabs.

[Via New Scientist]