GENEVA — Scientists at the world’s largest smasher said Wednesday they have discovered two new subatomic particles never seen before that could widen our understanding of the universe.

An experiment using the European Organization for Nuclear Research’s Large Hadron Collider found the new particles, which were predicted to exist, and are both baryons made from three quarks bound together.

Officials at the lab known by its French acronym CERN announced the discovery, which could shed more light on how things work beyond the “Standard Model” physics theory explaining the basic building blocks of matter.

“Nature was kind and gave us two particles for the price of one,” said one of the CERN collaborators, Matthew Charles.

The new particles are more than six times as massive as the protons that scientists have been deliberately crashing into each other in a 17-mile tunnel on the Swiss-French border near Geneva to see what they can discover about the makeup of the universe and its tiniest particles.

The heavier weight of the two particles is due in part to their “spins” in opposite directions, said Steven Blusk of Syracuse University in New York.

CERN-based physicist Patrick Koppenburg said the study could help differentiate between Standard Model effects and “anything new or unexpected in the future.”