Etcetera

     Print Edition: Aug 5, 2012

Scientists have broken fresh ground in their quest to unearth the basic building blocks of the universe with the discovery of the Higgs boson - known as the 'God particle'.

What it is:
It is one of the fundamental particles that make up all matter and its discovery validates the Standard Model theory of the universe. A tiny subatomic particle, the Higgs boson weighs about 130 times as much as an atom of hydrogen, the lightest gas. It was detected in experiments at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) lab near Geneva.

What it does:
The 'God particle' interacts with other subatomic particles that are building blocks of atoms in a way that slows them down. This is the reason why matter in the universe has mass. Without mass, particles would be unable to coalesce together to form the atoms that make up everything, from planets to people.

The background:
The 'God particle' was proposed in the 1960s by Peter Higgs to explain why some particles, such as quarks - building blocks of protons - and electrons have mass, while others, such as the light-carrying photon particle, do not. It was the final elementary particle predicted and required by the Standard Model which had not yet been observed through particle physics experiments.

Significance:
The discovery will help scientists unravel more of the universe's great mysteries including 'dark matter'.

Soft Targets
For around 13, 000 distanceeducation students at Burdwan University, it has been an endless wait for their first year results. All because the university would not install a new software. Officials blame the delay on the inability of the executive council to meet and endorse the decision to use the new software.

It Takes the Cake
It is a treat for pastry aficionados - only it is priced at a whopping £645 a piece. British confectionary firm Bloomsbury has unveiled the world's priciest cupcake - The Golden Phoenix - at its Dubai caf√©. Its ingredients include organic flour and butter from Britain, premium cacao from Italy, vanilla beans from Uganda and 23-karat edible gold sheets.

Do Take Note
Reserve Bank of India officials are losing sleep over the growing menace of fake currency notes. They have launched a website to spread awareness about counterfeit currency. The portal, www.paisaboltahai.rbi.org.in, graphically describes the security features embedded on currency notes. Will it make a difference? Banks detected over 4,35,000 fake notes in 2010/11

Compiled by Basudha Das

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