Scientists at the CERN physics research centre said on Tuesday they had found signs of -- although not yet conclusively discovered -- the Higgs boson, an elementary particle which is the missing link in the Standard Model of physics.

Fabiola Gianotti, the scientist in charge of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, said the signal was centred at around 126 GeV (Giga electron volts).

I think it would be extremely kind of the Higgs boson to be here, she told a seminar to discuss the findings. But it is too early for final conclusions, she said. More studies and more data are needed. The next few months will be very exciting...I don't know what the conclusions will be.

The Higgs boson is, in theory, the particle that gives mass to all other fundamental particles. While its discovery would cement current knowledge about particles such as electrons and photons, results of work at CERN could also prove it does not exist, which would force physicists to rethink the Standard Model.

(Reporting by Robert Evans, writing by Tom Miles)