A wealth of new data has made scientists even more confident that the elusive "God particle" is in their grasp.
The sub-atomic particle whose dramatic discovery was announced last July is looking increasingly like some form of Higgs boson.
Physicists have spent decades searching for the particle which according to theory gives matter mass.
The new particle was detected within the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the leviathan atom-smashing machine straddling the French and Swiss border.
However although scientists were almost sure they had found the Higgs, there was still a small margin of error.
Further experiments were needed to clear the fog of uncertainty away and show more precisely what they were dealing with.
A key unanswered question is what strain of Higgs particle the new find might be.
Evidence points to it being the kind of Higgs boson predicted by the conventional "Standard Model" theory of what makes the universe tick. But there remains a possibility that it could be one of several lighter versions postulated by more radical theories.
LHC scientists attending the Moriond Conference in La Thuile, Italy, presented the latest findings after analysing two and a half times more Higgs data than was available last summer.
Leading UK particle physicist Professor Jon Butterworth, from University College London, a member of the international team working on the LHC's Atlas detector, said:
"The evidence mounts that this new boson is something very like the Higgs boson of the Standard Model. We have to keep working at it, but on the face of it this means the Standard Model is a much more powerful theory than many physicists suspected. The fact that it works so well actually becomes a real puzzle. "
Are We Really Here?
Physicists announced evidence that we may be living in an enormous computer in 2012 - or at least the chance they might be able to test if we are. It's a slight announcement in some ways, but as by far our most popular running story of 2012 <a href="www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/12/physicists-universe-simulation-test-university-of-washington-matrix_n_2282745.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-tech">it's clearly among your favourites to be the most significant in the coming decades.</a>
Mars Rover Curiosity
In July Nasa <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/14/nasa-proves-mars-rover-curiosity-self-portrait-conspiracy_n_2298684.html">successfully landed the $2.5 billion Mars rover Curiosity</a> on the surface of Mars using an untested 'sky crane' suspended by rocket boosters. It is the largest and most complex vehicle ever to make it to another planet, and will search for signs of life for more than two years.
Higgs Boson Discovered
To huge cheers and standing ovations, scientists at the world's biggest particle accelerator claimed the discovery of a new subatomic particle in July, calling it "consistent" with the long-sought Higgs boson popularly known as the "God particle" which gives matter its mass.
Earth-Like Exoplanets Discovered
Several breakthroughs in the search for Earth-like planets outside our Solar System were made in 2012, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20249753">including the discovery of what appears to be a 'Super Earth' in November.</a> These finds take us closer than ever to finding a world capable of sustaining life other than Earth. The discovery <a href="http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2012/11/newly-discovered-earth-like-planet-could-be-habitable/">of HD 40307g</a> was probably the most exciting, as it was shown to be orbiting its sun in a so-called "goldilocks zone" just like Earth.
Nasa Maps The Moon
Nasa's Grail mission launched two craft - Ebb and Flow - into orbit around the Moon to produce the most detailed gravity map of any body in the Solar System - including Earth. They crashed (on purpose) in December, but their work could help us understand how our world was formed - and if life might be hidden in the depths of Mars.
Many breakthroughs in medicine were made in 2012, but among the most exciting was a study in July <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-08/aids-cure-quest-advances-as-merck-cancer-medicine-attacks-hidden-hiv.html">which showed how a drug for a rare type of cancer was able to "flush out" deposits of HIV</a>. Work is still ongoing - and a cure is still far away - but it points in the direction of true breakthroughs in future.
Space X Docks With ISS
SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial ship to dock successfully with the International Space Station and deliver supplies.
Robot Helps In Heart Surgery
A robot was able to participate <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-20028502"> in open-heart surgery</a> for the first time in Britain in 2012, raising hopes that the machines may eventually lead to man's emancipation from hardship and illness, and not our total annihilation.
Climate Change: Still Awful
A host of breakthroughs in the study of climate change made for depressing - and occasionally hopeful - reading in 2012. The rate of polar melting <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/11/arctic-sea-ice-vanishing"> was shown to be at fresh record levels</a>, and the most aggressive scenarios were <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=climate-science-predictions-prove-too-conservative">said to be too conservative</a>. But fresh talks at Doha, while they accomplished little in solid policy, raised some hopes at a widespread and transformative shift in public opinion.
Man Jumps From Space
Red Bull Stratos pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria jumped from a capsule more than 24 miles up in 2012 - the highest jump ever and alone a significant technical achievement - but also among the most-watched public science experiments in many years.
Teleportation (albeit of information, not people) came a step closer to reality in 2012 after an international team <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905134356.htm ">was able to send quantum information</a> more than 143 kilometres in "mid air".
A study in April was able to construct a working "quantum computer" network for the first time, indicating a truly transformative technological breakthrough in computing <a href="an elementary network for exchanging and storing quantum information">in which data could be transmitted by single atoms.</a>
Atlas spokesperson Professor Dave Charlton, from the University of Birmingham, said: " The latest results mark a significant step in the measurement programme of the new boson..
"It has been a great challenge for the experiments to produce such detailed analyses so quickly - it is a testament to the dedication of very many people that we could show the latest analyses this week.
"More detailed results will be produced in the next weeks and months, and when the LHC resumes running at higher energies in 2015 we will learn much more still."
American physicist Professor Joe Incandela, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, who represents the CMS detector team, said the results were "magnificent".
He added: "To me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is."
The identity of a Higgs boson is tested by looking at how it interacts with other particles and its quantum properties.
According to theory, a true Higgs should have zero "spin" - a property of elementary particles that is not the same as a ball spinning on its axis. The Standard Model also predicts that its "parity", a measure of how its mirror image behaves, should be positive.
Results from both Atlas and CMS indicate that the new particle has both these properties.
"The beautiful new results... point to the new particle having the spin-parity of a Higgs boson as in the Standard Model," said Prof Charlton.