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At 78, scientist hopes for proof soon that he was right about the Universe

The 40-year hunt for the holy grail of physics – the elusive “God particle” that is supposed to give matter its mass – is almost over, according to the leading scientist who first came up with the theory.

Peter Higgs, whose work gave his name to the elusive Higgs boson particle, said that he was more than 90 per cent certain it would be found within the next few years.

The Higgs boson was the professor’s elegant 1964 solution to one of the great problems with the standard model of physics – how matter has mass and thus exists in a form that allows it to make stars, planets and people. He proposed that the universe is pervaded by an invisible field of bosons that consist of mass but little else.

As particles move through this field, bosons effectively stick to some of them, making them more massive, while leaving others to pass unhindered. Photons, light particles that have no mass, are not affected by the Higgs field at all.

The mysterious boson postulated by Professor Higgs, of the University of Edinburgh, has become so fundamental to physics that it is often nicknamed the “God particle”. After more than 40 years of research, and billions of pounds, scientists have yet to prove that it is real. But Professor Higgs, 78, now believes the search is nearly over.

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Superfast internet may replace world wide web

By Lewis Carter
Last Updated: 2:47am BST 07/04/2008

The internet could soon be made obsolete by a new "grid" system which is 10,000 times faster than broadband connections.

Scientists in Switzerland have developed a lightning-fast replacement to the internet that would allow feature films and music catalogues to be downloaded within seconds.

The invention could signal the end of the dreaded 'frozen screen', when computers seize up after being asked to process too much information.

The latest spin-off from Cern, the particle physics centre that created the internet, the grid could also provide the power needed to send sophisticated images; allow instant online gaming with hundreds of thousands of players; and offer high-definition video telephony for the price of a local call.

David Britton, professor of physics at Glasgow University and a leading figure in the grid project, believes grid technology could change society.

He said: "With this kind of computing power, future generations will have the ability to collaborate and communicate in ways older people like me cannot even imagine."

The power of the grid will be unlocked this summer with the switching on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a new particle accelerator designed to investigate how the universe began.

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Medical tech boosts state

Wisconsin is No. 3 nationwide in sector employment

By JOHN SCHMID
jschmid@journalsentinel.com
Posted: April 1, 2008

It delivers instant images inside the body or shrinks tumors with laser-like radiation. And according to the nation's largest and oldest technology trade group, medical technology plays a commanding role in keeping Wisconsin in the global technology race.

Wisconsin hosts the nation's third-largest cluster of medical-equipment manufacturers as measured by employment (5,800 jobs), behind No. 1 California (13,100) and No. 2 Minnesota (12,600), according to "Cyberstates 2008," an annual state-by-state overview by the American Electronics Association.

The organization, known as the AeA, focuses on electronics, telecommunications, software and information services. It excludes the proliferation of bioscience and stem-cell technology firms around Madison.

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