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Switzerland

Elusive 'God Particle' Discovered After 50-Year Quest (Layman's Explainer Guide Included)

REUTERS, NEW SCIENTIST, CERN(Switzerland)

Worldcrunch

GENEVA - Physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva have announced that they have observed a new subatomic particle that may well be the crucial Higgs boson, a.k.a. the "God particle," thus potentially putting an end to an almost 50-year-long game of hide-and-seek with the elusive particle.

"The results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we're seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it's the heaviest boson ever found," said spokesperson Joe Incandela in a press release published on the CERN website.

A little rusty on your particle physics? Here are three attempts at helping the rest of us to understand what all the fuss is about:

-David J. Miller, a physicist at University College London used the following analogy in 1993: Imagine a cocktail party in a ballroom. Regular people can walk around freely, encountering no resistance from other members of the crowd. But when a celebrity – say, Justin Bieber -- shows up, everybody gathers around so tightly that he can hardly move... The partygoers are like Higgs bosons, giving mass to the whole cluster. Bieber represents basically anything in the universe. For once.

-The Higgs field has also been described as an all-pervading "cosmic treacle," a kind of sticky syrup (see image below) spread throughout the universe. Particles moving through the treacle stick to it, slow down, lose energy, and become heavier. Not to mention yummier.

Peter Higgs, the British physicist after whom the particle is named, called this step a great achievement for the Large Hadron Collider, the 27-km (17-mile) long particle accelerator built in a tunnel underneath the French-Swiss border where experiments to search for the boson have taken place, Reuters reports. Higgs added: "I never expected this to happen in my lifetime and shall be asking my family to put some champagne in the fridge."

If confirmed, the discovery would have virtually illimited implications. One of them being that British physicist Stephen Hawking would owe University of Michigan physicist Gordon Kane $100: Back in 2000, Hawking bet Kane that the Higgs boson would never be found, as reported in the magazine New Scientist.

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Geopolitics

Modi Is Wrong: Russia's War Also Creates Real Risks For India

By shrugging aside Russia’s aggression, India has shown indifference to fears that China could follow Russia’s example.

Photo of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi Visits Russia

Anita Inder Singh*

-OpEd-

NEW DELHI — India is wrong to dismiss Russia’s war in Ukraine as Europe’s problem. The illegality and destructiveness of the invasion, and consequential food and energy crises, have global ramifications.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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This explains why 143 out of the 193 member-states of the UN General Assembly voted against recognizing Russia’s illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions after holding sham referenda there. Ninety-three voted in favor of expelling Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

India has abstained from every vote in the UN condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The reason? Moscow is India’s top arms supplier and some 70% of India’s military platforms are of Russian origin.

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