Posted: March 31, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Life-changing experiments: The biological Higgs

Biologists ponder what fundamental discoveries might match the excitement of the Higgs boson.

Biologists may have little cause to envy physicists — they generally enjoy more generous funding, more commercial interest and more popular support. But they could have been forgiven a moment of physics envy last December when, after a week of build-up and speculation, researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva in Switzerland addressed a tense, standing-room-only auditorium. Scientists there had caught the strongest hints yet of the Higgs boson: what some have called the ‘God particle’ and the final missing piece of the standard model that explains the behaviour of subatomic particles. The discovery, if confirmed, will mark the culmination of a hunt that has taken years and cost billions of dollars, and will shape the field for years to come. The research community was abuzz. “There were lots of rumours flying around about how significant the signal was,” says Lisa Randall, a theoretical particle physicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who got up at 4 a.m. to talk to the press before watching the webcast of the presentation at the LHC. “It’s been quite exciting.” (via Life-changing experiments: The biological Higgs : Nature News & Comment)

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