In an announce­ment sending shock­waves through the global sci­en­tific com­mu­nity, North­eastern researchers have announced the dis­covery of the elu­sive Higgons-​​Boston, a sub­atomic par­ticle unique to the Mass­a­chu­setts state capital.

Also known as “the cod par­ticle,” the Higgons-​​Boston is thought to finally pro­vide sci­en­tists with insight into the unique physics of the “Hub of the Uni­verse,” which causes the speech and man­ner­isms of those born here to be inde­ci­pher­able to many out­side the region.

Ben Franklin

The Higgons-​​Boston was first the­o­rized in the 1970s, when Petunia Hig­gons and six other researchers pro­posed a mech­a­nism to account for the unex­plained physics of the area. But sci­en­tists have known of Boston’s strange phys­ical char­ac­ter­is­tics since as early as the 1700s, when loqua­cious founding father Ben­jamin Franklin couldn’t explain the eccen­tric­i­ties of his home­town to his fellow Philadel­phians. He acknowl­edged he was never fully able to shake his Boston roots, which he cred­ited for his unusual hob­bies including writing mul­tiple news­paper edi­to­rials under assumed names and flying kites during dan­gerous thunderstorms.

The Snell Library archives include a letter from Franklin to his cousin: “There must be some­thing that explains the odd­i­ties that define Boston life,” he wrote. “Much like the abun­dant cod­fish pur­sued by fish­ermen in Boston Harbor, there truly must be some­thing in the water that makes Bosto­nians tick in their own way.” For the first time in his­tory, we may finally know what that some­thing is.

The search to iden­tify and under­stand the long-​​theorized Higgons-​​Boston has been a top pri­ority at the uni­ver­sity since the con­struc­tion of the world’s third largest par­ticle col­lider in the late 1990s. Led by physics pro­fessor Ed Phick­wissa, an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary team of North­eastern researchers has spent years col­lecting and ana­lyzing data from the university’s par­ticle col­lider located under­ground on campus.

Could the “cod par­ticle” finally answer long sought-​​after ques­tions about Boston?

The new find­ings sug­gest that the so-​​called “Hig­gons field,” which attrib­utes erratic behavior to the par­ti­cles that pass through it, is espe­cially strong in this small corner of the universe.

Thanks to this dis­covery, we may finally know why Bosto­nians drop their Rs in speech and why the city’s dri­vers take to the streets with such ter­ri­fying abandon,” Phick­wissa said.

On second thought,” he added, “I’m not sure we’ll ever fully under­stand their dri­ving habits, but if any­thing will bring us close to unrav­eling that mys­tery, it’s this research.”

In con­junc­tion with a major expan­sion to Northeastern’s under­ground tunnel system, the NPC will now undergo a two-​​year main­te­nance period in which the instrument’s ener­getics will be sig­nif­i­cantly increased. The upgrade will allow for fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion of the enig­matic “cod-​​particle” par­ticle in 2015.

This article is part of news@Northeastern’s April Fools’ Day coverage.