Samsung health hazards

Court: Studies Understate Samsung Health Hazards
A South Korean court says studies conducted to evaluate safety at Samsung chip factories failed to fully examine workplace health hazards.
The finding by the Seoul Administrative Court is part of a ruling on the case of a Samsung worker who died of leukemia in 2009 aged 29.
A panel of three judges said Friday that a “considerable causal relationship” existed between Kim Kyung-mi’s leukemia and her five years of work at a Samsung memory chip factory, dipping wafers in chemicals.
The judges said Kim must have been exposed to more toxic chemicals than safety studies said existed at Samsung’s factories.
Samsung has cited studies that found no dangerous level of benzene, formaldehyde or other carcinogens to ease public concerns about workplace hazards.

Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)

Plant link to buried treasures

Trees may turn golden for reasons that have nothing to do with the onset of autumn: Eucalyptus trees can hold grains of gold, potentially helping reveal buried treasure, scientists now find.
Many plants root deep into the Earth, drawing up nutrients and minerals they need for life. Researchers hope this fact could one day help miners unearth gold, especially since discoveries of new deposits of the precious metal have dropped 45 percent over the last 10 years.
Scientists in Australia focused on eucalyptus trees, since traces of gold are sometimes found in soils surrounding these plants. However, researchers were not certain until now whether trees could actually absorb the precious metal from underground deposits or if the wind simply blew gold dust there from other sites.
Now one group has discovered the first evidence in nature of gold particles located within living tissue from trees.
Researchers investigated leaves, twigs and bark of eucalyptus trees up to 35 feet tall from two locations in Australia one in the west, another in the south. Past exploratory drilling revealed these sites had gold buried underground, but the areas were undisturbed by further mining activity that might have contaminated the trees with gold dust.
X-ray analysis revealed gold particles up to about 8 microns wide in cells from the trees, or about 10 times thinner than the average human hair. Field samples and greenhouse experiments suggest these gold particles which exist at concentrations not harmful to the trees are absorbed by the roots and transported to its extremities, such as leaves, where the highest concentrations were observed.
These findings, detailed online Oct. 22 in the journal Nature Communications,suggest the trees could tap into gold deposits up to 115 feet below them while searching for water under drought conditions.
“We were astounded at the capability of the eucalyptus trees to bring up gold from the equivalent [height] of a 10-story building,”study lead author Melvyn Lintern, a geochemist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, told LiveScience’s OurAmazingPlanet.
The researchers are not proposing mining these eucalyptus trees for gold, Lintern cautioned. “The amount of gold in the trees is extremely small. You would need 500 trees or more growing over a gold deposit to have enough gold to make a ring.”
Instead, eucalyptus trees could help miners identify where deeply buried gold deposits might be located and therefore avoid wasting time, money and resources hunting for the precious metal over vast tracts of land, Lintern said.

Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)

Nokia unveils first windows tablet

Nokia is expanding its lineup of Windows phones and introducing its first tablet computer, all sporting the powerful camera technology found in its flagship Lumia 1020 smartphone.
The struggling cellphone maker is turning to the camera to differentiate its phones from rivals. The Lumia 1020 has a 41-megapixel camera with technology designed to produce better low-light shots and offer greater manual controls than most smartphones.
The new devices will use Microsoft’s Windows system and come as Microsoft aims to complete its 5.44 billion euros ($7.4 billion) deal to buy Nokia’s phone business and patent rights. The deal is expected to close early next year.
Nokia, a Finnish company, has seen its cellphone business unravel since Apple revolutionized the way people use handsets with the 2007 introduction of the iPhone. Microsoft, meanwhile, is struggling amid declines in sales of traditional personal computers in favor of smartphones and tablets.
Nokia’s new Lumia 1520 will have a larger screen, measuring 6 inches diagonally, compared with 4.5 inches on the 1020. Nokia said the new phone’s camera will have only 20 megapixels in order to keep the camera sensor smaller and the phone thinner. But that’s still more resolution than most other phones.
The 1520 will also come with new apps designed to organize photos based on where you take the shots and to give you more flexibility in determining –after the fact– where the image should be focused. The phone will cost $740, though wireless carriers are expected to offer it cheaper with two-year service contracts.
Nokia will also make a cheaper version, the Lumia 1320, for a contract-free price of $339. It will have a 5-megapixel camera and a slower processor than the 1520. Both run the latest version of Windows Phone 8, which has new features to accommodate larger screen sizes.
Nokia’s first tablet will be the Lumia 2520. It will run Windows 8.1 RT, meaning it shares the tile-based interface of the phone software, but can run various apps designed for Windows tablets. However, RT is the lightweight version of Windows, so it will run only apps specifically designed for it. Regular versions of Windows 8.1 can run apps for older versions of Windows.
All versions of the 2520 will come with built-in 4G LTE cellular access. By contrast, iPads and most other tablets make cellular access optional, with their cheapest models capable of using Wi-Fi only for Internet access.
The 10.1-inch tablet will cost $499. An optional cover with a physical keyboard and extended battery life is $149 extra. The camera is 6.7 megapixels, but shares the low-light technology and manual controls found in the Lumia 1020.
All three devices are expected to go on sale by the end of the year. They will come in multiple colors with a hard, plastic back molded onto the device.

Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)

Oil companies, environmentalists oppose fed rules for removing sunken oil rigs

Oil companies and environmental groups may spar over off-shore drilling, but there’s one thing they can agree on: Leaving scuttled rigs on the ocean floor creates a rich environment for coral, endangered species and other marine life.
The Gulf of Mexico – home to approximately 3,600 offshore oil and gas platforms – is set to lose a third of those structures in the next five years, which many claim will destroy almost 2,000 acres of coral reef habitat and the seven billion invertebrates that thrive on or near the platforms. Such organisms include federally protected species, like scleractinian corals, octocorals, hydrozoans and gorgonians.
Despite an unlikely consensus that the decommissioned rigs create prolific ecosystems, a law enacted more than 30 years ago requires that many of these platforms be ripped from the ocean floor – in turn destroying a habitat used by countless organisms for feeding, spawning, mating and maturation.
Pressure to remove the old rigs comes on two fronts. A 1970s federal law, enacted before the benefits of leaving them on the ocean floor were understood, called for companies to remove them. Though still in effect, subsequent state rulings that cited the boon to marine life that the rigs can provide conflicted with it. The older law was not strictly enforced until the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which left hundreds of rigs damaged and unusable. Even then, it appears to be in conflict with state laws, federal programs and even scientific consensus.
Oil companies also find it in their interest to remove some of the rigs – despite the estimated cost of $3 million – because they can be held liable in perpetuity for navigational hazards caused by the sunken wreckage.
“Rigs-to-Reefs,” a nationwide program developed in the mid-1980s by the former Minerals Management Service – now the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement under the U.S. Department of the Interior – advocates for some decommissioned offshore oil and petroleum rigs to become artificial reefs for the vast organisms that inhabit the ocean floor.
“The program is beneficial to all parties involved,” said Nat Spencer, a principal at Meridian Ocean Services, a U.S.-based subsea contractor currently conducting reef survey in the gulf with a Saab Seaeye Falcon DR remotely operated vehicle.
“The oil companies save decommissioning costs, the states increases their tax revenue through sport fishing, and the environmentalists see increased or steady fish populations on the platforms as well as a steady stream of annual recorded data about those populations,” Spencer told FoxNews.com. “It’s a misconception that the rigs are left over the capped wells. The platforms are all severed from their original bases, then relocated to new areas which are separate from the original drilling locations.”
Environmental groups, like EcoRigs, a non-profit group based in southern Louisiana, say the issue of removing the rigs is a complex one.
Steve Kolian, the group’s founder, told FoxNews.com that the 1970’s law conflicts with legislation enacted in the 1980’s and 90’s that protects marine organisms – like the 1979 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which was amended in 1996 to protect marine organisms and reef communities from destruction. That act prevents protected organisms such as scleractinian corals, hydrozoans, octocorals and gorgonians from being removed from the structure they live on.
“In the 1970’s, they made the platform removal regulations but they had no idea that there were all those protected species on there,” said Kolian. “It conflicts with the later laws that protect marine organisms.”
Kolian said a common misperception is that the oil well and platform are connected. The wells are required to be capped by pumping them with concrete once they are no longer in commission. The platforms, meanwhile, are “just metal structures,” according to Kolian.
“The platforms are not guilty of producing green house gas or spilling and all those other things associated with the oil industry,” he said.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who serves on the Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced legislation in May that would increase the use of decommissioned Gulf platforms as artificial reefs, as part of the Rigs to Reefs program.
“We in the Gulf Coast are familiar with how idle rigs can develop into fertile marine habitats, home to some of the best fishing in the world,” Vitter said in a statement Wednesday to FoxNews.com. “These artificial reefs are incredibly important to the growth and sustainability of the economy and environment in the Gulf.”
Vitter argues that his bill, if enacted, known as The Artificial Reef Promotion Act, will bring the decades-old Rigs-to-Reefs program “into the 21st century.” The act requires that 20 new reef planning areas be created after a year of enactment, including six off each of the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, three off the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, and five off of the coast of Florida.
Critics of the Rigs-to-Reef program argue that a rusting steel rig may be detrimental to the environment and say more scientific research is needed to assess the long-term impact on aquatic life. And some commercial fisheries claim artificial reefs damage their fishing nets and also pose a navigational hazard.
Adding to the complexity of the issue, is the requirement that oil companies spend money to maintain the rig for as long as it sits on the ocean floor.    
“Once you put that oil rig there, you’re responsible for it forever. So there is a benefit to the oil company to get it removed,” said Paul Cozic, director of Hell Divers’ Spearfishing Club, which advocates a moratorium on the removal of oil rigs.
“Every time they pull these rigs up, they destroy endangered species and all kinds of snapper,” Cozic said. “People travel all over the world to see the type of coral and marine life that’s on these rigs.”

Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)

Report Shows How Associated Aircraft Crashed. • Captain Defied Warnings To Abort Flight • Plane Nose Dived 31 Seconds After Take Off • Right Engine Produced Less Thrust At Take-Off

PERHAPS, the crash of Associated Airlines Flight 361 carrying the remains of former Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Agagu and some close family members and associates could have been avoided had the captain heeded the “automated warning from the onboard computer voice, which consisted of three chimes followed by take-off flaps. Report says the accident could have been avoided had the crew aborted the flight.
It disclosed that the aircraft impacted the ground near aviation fuel depot, popularly referred to as Joint Users Hydrant Installations (JUHI) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, 31 seconds after the warning stall was heard, with a nose down near 90 degrees right bank.
This is a configuration warning that suggests that the flaps were not in the correct position for the take-off.
At the time of the accident, the AIB stated that the “right engine appeared to be producing less thrust than the left engine”.
In response to the First Officer’s question as to whether the flight should not be aborted, the captain, Abdulrahaman Yakubu, “indicated that they should continue and they continued the take-off roll.”
The Accident Investigation Bureau’s (AIB) preliminary report noted that, “the crew did not make a V1 call or a Vr call.
A V1 call is the speed at which decision to abort or continue a take-off is made, while Vr call is the speed at which it is planned to rotate the aircraft.
Normally, the non-flying pilot calls both the V1 and the Vr speed. When Vr is called, the flying pilot pulls back on the control column and the aircraft is rotated to climb away from the runway.
The report also noted that during the rotation, the First Officer stated ‘gently’, which the AIB believes reflects concern that the aircraft was not performing normally and therefore needed to be rotated very gently so as not to aerodynamically stall the aircraft.
The warning did not appear to come as any surprise to the crew as they continued normally with the process of verifying the accuracy of the flight data, just as AIB is yet to confirm the actual flap setting, promising to determine this in the fullness of time.
“The First Officer indicated that the aircraft was not climbing and advised the captain who was flying not to stall the aircraft. Higher climb angles can cause an aerodynamic stall. If the aircraft is not producing enough overall thrust, it is difficult or impossible to climb without the risk of an aerodynamic stall”.
“Immediately after the lift up, the aircraft slowly veered off the runway heading to the right and was not climbing properly. This aircraft behavior appears to have resulted in the air traffic controller asking Flight 361 if operation was normal.
“Flight 361 never responded. Less than 10 seconds after rotation of the aircraft to climb away from the runway, the stall warning sounded in the cockpit and continued to the end of the recording. The flight data shows characteristics consistent with an aerodynamic stall”.
The disclosure was made yesterday by Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Usman Muktar at the AIB headquarters in Abuja where he released preliminary report of the crash, which left 15 people dead with five survivors.
The download and analysis of the blackbox were done for the first time in AIB’s newly built multi-billion naira accident laboratory in Abuja.
The report, according to Muktar, was determined from preliminary readout and analysis of flight 361 flight recorders, adding that the ill-fated plane was equipped with both a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and a Flight Data Recorder (FDR).
The equipment, he said, were replayed at the AIB’s laboratory with assistance from experts from Canada who designed the laboratory; they assisted the investigation team with the readout and analysis, along with representatives from the aircraft manufacturers and the Associated Airlines .
According to the Muktar, “the crew discussed some concerns about the aircraft prior to departure but at this time, we are not prepared to elaborate on those concerns as there remains a lot of work to be done on the CVR analysis in order to determine the specific nature of the crew’s concerns”.
The AIB boss disclosed that physical examination of the wreckage revealed that the right engine propeller was in the feather position and the engine fire handle was pulled/activated.
Giving a vivid account of what led to the accident, he said, “The standard eighty knots call was made by the First Officer (co-pilot). The first evidence that the crew indicated that there was a problem with the take-off roll was immediately following the eighty knots’ call.”
According to the report made available to reporters, “The First Officer asked if the take-off should be aborted approximately 12 seconds after the eighty knots callout”.
The AIB’s investigation team estimates the speed to be approximately 95 knots, stressing that airspeed was one of the parameters that while working in the cockpit, appeared not to be working on the FDR.
“We were able to estimate the speed based on the radar data that we synchronized to the FDR and CVR but it is very approximate because of this,” Muktar said.
He, however, disclosed that investigation is focusing on other areas, which are mechanical and electronic engine control issues related to the right engine and right engine propeller systems, aural warnings related to auto-feather and the flap settings required for take-off, take-off configuration issues with respect to flap settings.
Others are crew decision making and training with respect to proceeding with the flight despite concerns regarding the aircraft suitability for flight, standard operating procedures with respect to continuing the take-off roll despite continuous automated voice warnings of both take-off flap and auto feather when there was ample time to abort the take-off and the airline management’s safety culture fostered throughout the airline.

New multitasking Samsung Tablet

Remember when people used personal computers — desktops and laptops — to check email, view video and keep tabs on Facebook? Back in that far-away era, I’d have several windows open for Web browsers, a word processor, a photo editor and sometimes a reader for PDF documents.
I miss that capability on mobile devices, particularly on full-size tablets with a decent amount of display space. With iPads and Android tablets, I’m typically limited to one window displayed at a time; other apps run in the background, out of sight. With Windows 8 tablets, I can run two windows side by side, but I’m constrained in what I can do with them. It gets better with the Windows 8.1 update due out next week, but it’s still not the free-for-all I had with PCs.
So I marveled at a pair of multitasking features that come with Samsung’s new tablet, formally called Galaxy Note 10.1 — 2014 Edition. Sporting a 10.1-inch display, measured diagonally, the Note tablet goes on sale in the U.S. on Thursday at a starting price of $550.
The first of the multitasking features, called Multi-Window, has been available in Samsung devices for about a year, but it works with many more apps now. You can run two apps side by side, such as Facebook on one side and YouTube video on the other.
Like Windows 8 tablets, you’re limited to just two apps. You can change how much of the screen each one takes, a capability coming with Windows 8.1, but you can’t choose to have a window take up just the top left corner, the way you can on PCs. In addition, Multi-Window isn’t a universal feature. Apps for Netflix and Hulu won’t work, for instance. You currently have about 18 apps to choose from, including Facebook and a variety of Google and Samsung apps.
With that limitation, it’s nice that Samsung Electronics Co. is supplementing Multi-Window with a feature called Pen Window.
With it, simply draw a box on the screen with the included stylus, and choose one of seven apps to open in a new window. Do it again and again until you open all seven apps, if you wish. That’s nine in all, counting the two with Multi-Window. Each Pen Window app appears in a window that floats over your main app (or two apps if you use Multi-Window). You can move that window around on your screen and resize it, just as you can on PCs. Need a break from it? Just minimize it into a small dot and move it out of the way.
Like Multi-Window, you’re restricted in what apps you can use with Pen Window, though I expect more to get added over time. For now, Pen Window on the tablet works with YouTube, the calculator, the alarm clock, your contacts list, the Web browser and two chat apps — Samsung’s ChatOn and Google’s Hangouts. I like the fact that you can open all of them and keep them out of the way in a minimized state. That way, it’s just one click when you need the calculator and one click when you’re done.
The iPad doesn’t do that. Amazon’s Kindle Fire doesn’t do that. Other Android tablets don’t do that. Windows 8.1 won’t do that — at least not in the tablet-style viewing mode that Microsoft prefers you stick with. You’ll have to go to the classic, desktop mode to resize windows, which defeats the purpose of having Windows 8 or 8.1. Windows 8.1 will go further than Multi-Window in letting you run up to four apps side by side, but that works only on larger screens, not portable tablets.
Beyond multitasking, the new Note tablet offers a My Magazine mode giving you personalized highlights, such as news topics of interest, content from your social media feeds and suggestions on things to do and see, based on your current location. It’s a good concept, though Facebook isn’t available through it yet.
The new tablet also gives you quick access to the tools you can accomplish with its stylus. Pen Window is one. Another feature lets you add notes to a screenshot of what you see. Another lets you clip a section of a Web page and store it with a Web link.
Unfortunately, not everything worked. Text recognition was poor. I’m supposed to be able to jot down an email address or a phone number with the stylus and have that handwriting converted into a contacts entry. But the device constantly confuses the letters “o” and “l” with the numerals “0” and “1.”
Pen Window also is more difficult than necessary to set up. You need to take out the stylus for an Air Command tool to appear on the screen. You choose Pen Window, then draw a box on your screen with your stylus. Then you choose the app you want to open. Do all of that again to get additional apps, after figuring out how to get Air Command again with your stylus already out. It would have been simpler to have a button on the home screen that you can tap with your finger or stylus.
In addition, Samsung could have done more with the apps in minimized state. Google’s chat app is reduced to a circular icon. It could have flashed or changed colors to notify me of a new chat message, rather than make me open and close it regularly to check.
The tablet’s back is still made of plastic, but it feels like leather — an improvement over previous Samsung devices. The tablet does feel heavy, at 1.2 pounds, but that’s still lighter than the 1.4 pounds for the full-size iPad. If you want light, wait until early November for the large-size version of Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX. It weighs just 0.83 pound.
Samsung’s tablet is also pricey — the $550 starting price tops the iPad’s $499 and the Fire’s $379. Of course, neither the iPad nor the Fire includes a stylus.
One more complaint: Although the tablet uses the latest version of Android, 4.3, it doesn’t offer that system’s feature of letting multiple people share a device with separate profiles.
With the Note, it’s clear some of the functionality we’ve long associated with PCs is coming to devices we’re just getting to know. There’s more to be done, including support for multiple users, but I’m glad Samsung is leading us in that direction.

ABOUT THE GALAXY NOTE TABLET:
The Galaxy Note 10.1 — 2014 Edition is the second version of Samsung’s 10.1-inch stylus-based tablet. The base model with 16 gigabytes costs $550, while a 32-gigabyte version costs $600. It goes on sale in the U.S. on Thursday. Versions with cellular access are available only abroad. The Wi-Fi-only models in the U.S. won’t work with Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear computerized watch.

“Nest Protect – A sleek and smart smoke detector

Smoke detectors frequently produce more headaches than useful warnings. The devices have an irritating habit of shrieking when there’s no cause for alarm, and always seem to wait until the middle of the night to chirp when their batteries run low.
Tony Fadell, a gadget guru who helped design the iPod and original iPhone while working at Apple, is counting on his latest innovation to prove that a smoke detector can be sleek, smart and appreciated.
The device, called “Nest Protect,” is the second product hatched from Nest Labs Inc., a startup founded by Fadell in 2010 in an attempt to infuse homes with more of the high-tech wizardry that people take for granted in smartphones. The Palo Alto, Calif. company has 270 employees and has raised tens of millions of dollars from investors that include Google Inc.’s venture-capital arm and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm with a long record of backing innovative ideas.
Besides sensing smoke, Nest Protect is designed to detect unsafe levels of carbon monoxide. That could broaden the square-shaped device’s appeal, especially in the growing number of states that require homeowners to install carbon monoxide detectors.
Nest Protect’s price will probably turn off many consumers. It will go on sale next month for $129 in more than 5,000 stores in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom. Other less-sophisticated devices that detect both smoke and carbon monoxide typically sell for $50 to $80 apiece.
Fadell, who ended an eight-year stint at Apple Inc. in 2009, is aiming for an audience that appreciates sleekly designed products that provide peace of mind and simplicity.
“We want to take the unloved products in your own home and bring them to life in a way that makes them beautiful,” Fadell said while proudly showing off the Nest Protect. “There has been very little innovation with smoke detectors in the past 35 years and now we think we have found a way to make them less annoying.”
Nest Labs’ first device was a digital thermostat designed to learn how to cool and heat homes to suit the needs and habits of the inhabitants. It went on sale two years ago for $249. Fadell won’t say how many thermostats have been sold so far, but it’s done well enough to reinforce his belief that there is increasing interest in furnishing homes with the latest trappings of technology, even if it costs slightly more to do it.
The Nest Protect is equipped with a variety of sensors for detecting heat, smoke, carbon monoxide, light and motion. It also is programmed to deliver early warnings in spoken words instead of a shrill alarm to give a home’s occupants a chance to check on whether there’s just too much smoke coming from the oven, steam from the shower or a real fire hazard.
If it’s determined that there is nothing to worry about, all it takes it’s a wave of the arm to tell Nest Protect to be quiet.
Multiple devices in the same home can also communicate each other through wireless connections. They can be programmed to send warnings about possible hazards and low batteries to smartphones and tablet computers. The Nest Protect can even communicate with the company’s thermostat product to inform it about unsafe levels of carbon monoxide so the furnace can be automatically turned off.

Ford develops autonomous parking tech, no driver required

It comes when you call.
Ford has demonstrated a new technology that allows a car to perpendicularly park itself without anyone in it. The Fully Assisted Parking Aid uses sensors around the car to find a space, then allows a driver to get out of the car and activate the system remotely before it autonomously backs into the spot.
The system is being developed in Europe, where cars are getting larger but the 30 million off-street spaces haven’t increased in size over the years. The idea is to relieve some of the stress of trying to fit in a small space, while also letting cars get packed together more closely since their doors no longer need to be opened after they are parked.
When you want to leave, you simply press a button on your key fob and the car pulls out of the space where you can get into it and take over.
Ford already offers a perpendicular parking system on many of its models, but it requires that the driver stay in the car to operate the brake and transmission. The company says the more advanced system could start showing up in production cars within a couple of years.

2013 Nobel Prize in physics

Francois Englert of Belgium and Peter Higgs of Britain won the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for their theoretical discoveries on how subatomic particles acquire mass.
Their theories are key to explaining the building blocks of matter and the origins of the universe. They were confirmed last year by the discovery of the so-called Higgs particle, also known as the Higgs boson, at CERN, the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.
The announcement, which was widely expected, was delayed by one hour, which is highly unusual. The academy gave no immediate reason, other than saying on Twitter that it was “still in session” at the original announcement time. The academy decides the winners in a majority vote on the day of the announcement.
“I am overwhelmed to receive this award and thank the Royal Swedish Academy,” Higgs said in a statement released by the University of Edinburgh. “I hope this recognition of fundamental science will help raise awareness of the value of blue-sky research.”
Staffan Normark, the permanent secretary of the academy, said the academy had tried to reach Higgs on Tuesday but “all the numbers we tried he did not answer.” He wouldn’t say if that’s why the announcement was delayed.
By just awarding the men behind the theoretical discovery of the particle, the prize committee avoided the tricky issue of picking someone at the CERN laboratory in Geneva to share the award. Thousands of scientists were involved in the experiments that confirmed the particle’s existence in experiments last year.
The Nobel award can only be split by three people.
Englert and Higgs theorized about the existence of the particle in the 1960s to provide an answer to a riddle: why matter has mass. The tiny particle, they believed, acts like molasses on snow — causing other basic building blocks of nature to stick together, slow down and form atoms.
But decades would pass before scientists at CERN were able to confirm its existence in July 2012. To find it, they had to build a $10 billion collider in a 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border.
I’m thrilled that this year’s Nobel Prize has gone to particle physics,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. He said the discovery of the particle at CERN last year “marks the culmination of decades of intellectual effort by many people around the world.”
Finding the particle — often referred to as the “God particle” — required teams of thousands of scientists and mountains of data from trillions of colliding protons in the world’s biggest atom smasher — CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The device produces energies simulating those 1 trillionth to 2 trillionths of a second after the Big Bang.
Only about one collision per trillion will produce one of the Higgs bosons in the collider, and it took CERN some time after the discovery of a new “Higgs-like” boson to decide that the particle was, in fact, very much like the Higgs boson expected in the original formulation, rather than a kind of variant.
The physics prize was the second of this year’s Nobel awards to be announced. On Monday, the Nobel Prize in medicine was given to American scientists James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Sudhof for discoveries about how key substances are moved around within cells.
The prizes, established by Swedish industrialist and Alfred Nobel, will be handed out on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of his death in 1896. Each prize is worth 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.2 million).