Let me say first, I am not kinda ‘well-planned’ person! But, I am been inspired to become planned from my radio co-host Ali! As learnt – preparation is key. I know lots of people shy away from planners or weekly diaries and many have taken … Continue reading
WHEN Kyle MacDonald cut the red ribbon to his new house in Kipling, Canada, in July 2006, it brought back memories of the simple piece of stationary that made it all possible. One year and 14 trades earlier, Kyle was … Continue reading
A half-century scientific quest culminated early yesterday as physicists announced the discovery of a new subatomic particle — one theorized to be so fundamental that without it, nothing could exist.
Dubbed the Higgs boson — or the “God particle,” to the chagrin of scientists — the particle is thought to create a sort of force field that permeates the universe, imbuing everything that we can see and touch with the fundamental property known as mass.
“As a layman I now say, I think we have it,” said Rolf-Dieter Heuer, director general of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, immediately after physicists presented compelling evidence for the new particle at a seminar in Geneva.
“Do you agree?” he asked the several hundred scientists packing CERN’s main auditorium.
Applause broke out. The video feed from CERN showed Peter Higgs, the University of Edinburgh physicist who theorized the existence of this exotic particle in 1964, tearing up.
“We have a discovery,” said Heuer. “We have discovered a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson. It’s a historic milestone today.”
The scientists at CERN then stood, applauded and cheered for a full minute.
“I have the impression you are all happy,” said Heuer.
Moments later, Higgs, 83, stood and said, “For me, it’s really an incredible thing that happened in my lifetime.”
While there were typical scientist-esque notes of caution — a CERN statement called the discovery “preliminary” — scientists around the world celebrated the moment.
A video feed from Melbourne, Australia, where an international physics conference is set to begin, showed an auditorium packed with cheering scientists.
“One of the most exciting weeks of my life,” said Joe Lykken, a theoretical physicist who worked on one of the two CERN experiments that found evidence of the new particle.
At Fermilab, longtime home of the U.S. high-energy physics community, some 300 people stuffed into two rooms to watch a video feed from Geneva, said Don Lincoln, a Fermilab physicist who contributed to the CERN experiments.
“It’s incredible,” Lincoln said. “People were riveted. Discovery is what scientists live for.”
The announcement was one many Ohio State University physicists had long pursued.
“I’ve been working for 19 years looking forward to this day,” said Stan Durkin, an OSU experimental high-energy physicist. “I can’t express how excited I am.”
The search for the Higgs boson particle stretches back decades and finally settled at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva after efforts to build a super collider in the United States fell apart. Ohio was among 25 states that bid on the project, but was quickly removed from a list of 25 competing states in 1987.
Texas was ultimately selected, but Congress put a halt to construction in 1993 after projected construction costs soared past $12 billion.
Durkin helped design and build super-sensitive detectors that the Hadron needs to track high-speed particles, called muons, created by the Hadron Collider’s subatomic collisions.
“All of the tracks in the pictures you were shown were read out by Ohio State electronics,” Durkin said.
Christopher Hill, an OSU physicist and one of the leaders of the Hadron Collider’s Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, said the announcement follows observations made back in December that hinted at the Higgs.
Hill said more research was needed to help confirm that a new particle had been discovered.
“We used the same exact analysis techniques, but used twice as much data,” Hill said.
Hill and Richard Hughes, another OSU physicist, said years of research must follow to help reassure scientists that what they’ve found is the Higgs and not something unexpected.
“The next step is to say we need to study this thing to see if it behaves the way we would expect it to,” Hughes said. “Is it consistent with everything we expect from the Higgs boson?”
With a self-imposed deadline of July 4 — set two years ago to align with the conference in Melbourne — CERN physicists raced in recent days to collect and analyze enough data to say they had, indeed, found a new particle that looked like the long-sought Higgs.
As late as Tuesday, two teams pored over results from the last run of high-energy subatomic collisions at the collider, which straddles the French-Swiss border.
“It’s the last month of running that did it,” said Joe Incandela, spokesman for one of the two experiments at CERN that found evidence of the Higgs, during his presentation yesteday morning.
The discovery of the particle completes what’s known as the Standard Model of particle physics, the equivalent of chemistry’s Periodic Table. The Standard Model lists and arranges the particles and forces of nature. Many of the particles were predicted long before they were found — and the Higgs was the last holdout, and the most important.
That’s because it is thought to give rise to the “Higgs field,” a sort of force field that permeates everything.
When the other particles that make up the stuff of the universe — protons, neutrons, electrons and so on — interact with the Higgs field, they acquire the trait known as mass. More-massive objects get tangled up in the field — and hence, slowed down as they move — more than less-massive objects.
The CERN physicists did not see this new particle directly because it disintegrates too quickly. Rather, they divined its existence from sifting through the debris of millions of high-energy subatomic collisions and then searching for clues that the Higgs had been there.
While the Higgs boson research hasn’t produce any direct benefits, the massive scientific effort that led up to the discovery has paid off in other ways, including the creation of the World Wide Web. CERN scientists developed it to make it easier to exchange information among each other.
The vast computing power needed to crunch all of the data produced by the atom smasher has also boosted the development of distributed — or cloud — computing, which is now making its way into mainstream services.
Advances in solar-energy capture, medical imaging and proton therapy — used in the fight against cancer — also have resulted from the work of particle physicists at CERN and elsewhere.
Information from Dispatch reporter Spencer Hunt and the Associated Press were included in this story.
It’s easy to build a blog, but hard to build a successful blog with significant traffic. Over the years, we’ve grown the Moz blog to nearly a million visits each month and helped lots of other blogs, too. I launched … Continue reading
Ways to exercise away your angst Life can be (or rather is) very stressful at times. People employ all sorts of methods to combat the rigours of modern living but a guaranteed stress reliever is something available to us all … Continue reading
Not a week goes by without news of a lab breakthrough using rats or mice. But of all the promising medical interventions that make it to animal trials, only a fraction seem to translate into major breakthroughs for humans. … Continue reading
Welcome 2012!! Near is new New Year, nearer is New Year Eve, Blissfully and mirthfully we wish well to receive ! Everywhere is spoken and heard ’HAPPY NEW YEAR’, Well-wishing each other who we bear near and dear ! Orgies … Continue reading
Hmm…Well, the easy answer to this would be ‘No’. However, it also depends on the type of person that you are as well as the kind of Facebook account you are maintaining. According to Michelle Nichols of Reuters, a survey of 1,000 … Continue reading
After an extended wait, the much ballyhooed, much reviled Facebook Timeline is finally here, an official blog post Thursday announced to the world.
While the update has been available in some areas — such as New Zealand last week — for testing and developing purposes, beginning today, the new feature will be available to everyone everywhere.
Users looking to check out the service immediately can go to the Introducing Timeline page and click “Get It Now” button near the bottom right. Otherwise, an announcement will eventually appear at the top of your profile, according to Facebook.
The world’s most prominent social network hopes its latest digital makeover — which aggregates and organizes your profile chronologically — will help you “rediscover the things you shared, and collect your most important moments.
“It’s the heart of your Facebook experience, completely rethought from the ground up,” Zuckerberg gushed when he first introduced the feature druing this year’s f8 conference. “Timeline is the story of your life.”
For those worried about what exactly from their past might be popping up with the new profile, Facebook is giving users up to seven days to review their new Timeline before it becomes public.
Rather to read more, try TIMELINE on your Facebook Profile!!!!
I thought I’d type up some notes after an evening of using Google’s new social network, Google Plus. This is a really big deal, a super ambitious effort involving scores of engineers over months of near total secrecy. The service is really, really well done. Will it be good enough? I have no idea, but I have felt drawn to keep using it all night long.
The fundamental value proposition is around privacy: it’s the opposite of Facebook and Twitter’s universal broadcast paradigm. Google Plus is based on the Google Circles feature, which lets you share and view content to and from explicitly identified groups of your contacts, and no one else. It’s really easy to use and a great feature – but even if you’re communicating out in public, the rest of the service is very well designed, too. This is a smart, attractive, very strong social offering from Google. Below are some notes after a few hours of use.
Google Circles to Challenge Facebook Connect
When asked about a Google Plus API, Google’s Joseph Smarr said the following tonight on the site itself. “Of course, and we’re eager to make the social graph a ‘two-way street’ where you can use your circles to quickly get up-and-running on a new site, but also make new friends on that site and add them to your circles. Lots of details to work through, but the best way to do it is with good agile partners building cool social experiences. ;)”That sounds exactly like Facebook Connect, in particular the get up-and-running quickly on a new site part, and makes sense given the degree to which Plus is understood as a challenge to Facebook generally.
GOOGLE PLUS FEATURING AND FUN!
Big picture take-away: Google has built an attractive, intuitive, intelligent service that’s fun to use and speaks to a deep human need for contextual integrity of communication. There is not just public/private, life is more complex than that. This need, unmet by almost any other social network today, is where Google is aiming to win the hearts of users. The app the company built towards that aim is smooth and pleasing to use.
- The list, group or Circle creation interface is interesting and really easy to use. You drag peoples’ contact cards into big circles at the bottom of the page and those people are added to that group, or Circle. It’s full of fun little animations (try deleting a circle or grabbing multiple contacts) and if there is anything that will make people want to manually organize their contacts, this could be it. This is really important because as I’ve argued for several years, groups are the secret weapon of the social web. Anything that can increase the percentage of social software users who are actively curating dynamic, topical sources is a net win for the web and for the people who use it. List creation on competing services has been a mixed bag. It’s undervalued at Twitter and suffocated on Facebook.
- When hovering over a username, you can see a set of Circle titles that can be checked off to add people to groups as well. It is a shame that there aren’t any recommendations for people that ought to be grouped together automatically into a common Circle. Google could do that, but perhaps like Face Recognition they worried it would set people aBuzz with eerie privacy concerns.
- The ability to toss a contact into a Circle with typing and autocomplete make it even easier to organize contacts.
- Photo sharing is really smooth and easy. The desktop drag and drop uploader is very, very nice. The ability to drag things right into the share box at the top of the newsfeed is nice, too.
- Photo viewing is a little less elegant, but it’s ok.
Above: XKCD tells it like it is.
- The mobile web app is very good, though because of an error right now you can’t moderate comments as promised. That’s how high the expectations are set though!
- The mobile web app makes it easy to check in to locations, though in typical Google style (Plus being a radical departure!) there’s not a lot that happens when you check in.
- Google Plus One buttons off-site don’t flow into Plus one but they probably will in time.
- Circles aren’t public and at launch can’t be. The company says it was concerned about making public/private as clear as possible, but the curation of interesting topical Circles and then subscription to other peoples’ Circles has huge potential. Much like Twitter Lists.
- The Notification and Comments thread drop-down interface that now sits on top of Plus and every other Google web app, from Search to Gmail to Docs, is really nice. It’s ever-present and fully functional. It’s a great way to stay engaged with the service and was a very important addition.
- The Sparks feature, like a topic-based feed reader for keyword search results, is the least developed part of the site so far. Google Reader is so good, this can’t possibly stay so bad for too long. It’s not bad, the user experience is pretty good, but the content is sparse and there doesn’t seem to be as much quality control as there ought to be in what gets displayed. Too few, mediocre news updates on a topic aren’t exciting, but Sparks does make those updates easy to share and discuss.
The end result? So far and on balance, a very compelling experience. Google Plus invites will roll out to users over time, the first stage is being called a Field Test, in which feedback will be collected before expanding participation.
Have you had a chance to use Plus yet? What do you think of it? Can you imagine hundreds of millions of people leaving Facebook for this and sticking with it? That’s a very tall order.