World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking is $100 poorer following the apparent discovery of the Higgs boson particle that so elated scientists this week.

Hawking wagered 10 years ago at a conference in South Korea that such a theoretical particle — a basic "building block" of the universe described by some as the "God particle" — would never be found. He backed up his claim with a $100 wager against another scientist, Gordon Kane, who now heads the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics.

But the British physicist conceded he bet wrong on Wednesday, when scientists in Geneva announced they had almost certainly hunted down the elusive subatomic particle.

"I had a bet with Gordon Kane of Michigan University that the Higgs particle wouldn't be found. It seems I have just lost 100 dollars," Britain's Telegraph newspaper quoted Hawking as saying.

The 70-year-old theoretical physicist and author did say he was nevertheless pleased that the finding had been made. He also endorsed Peter Higgs, who first theorized in 1964 that a boson particle existed, for a Nobel Prize.