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The Latest Carnivals of Science

The 11th edition of the monthly science carnival Philosophia Naturalis is now up at Chris Rowan’s Highly Allochthonous site, where discussions move from the Higgs boson to Cassini’s extended mission, with time in between to investigate puddles on Mars. Take note as well of the weekly Carnival of Space, now in its 9th edition, this week edited on the Planetary Society’s weblog by the able Emily Lakdawalla. Here again the range is spacious, with musings on the atmospheres of extrasolar planets to the nano-minded Brian Wang’s thoughts on laser systems that could get us to Mars. If you only have time for one, don’t miss Pamela Gay’s take on gravitational lenses, a fine job on a tool of ever growing importance.

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  • ljk January 29, 2008, 10:32

    Higgs Hiding in Plain Sight?

    By Adrian Cho

    ScienceNOW Daily News

    23 January 2008

    Thousands of particle physicists are spending billions
    to try to spot the elusive Higgs boson, which is key to
    explaining the origins of mass. But evidence of the Higgs
    boson–or at least a Higgs boson–may already be lying
    unnoticed in data from previous experiments, new
    calculations suggest.

    All matter is made up of indivisible bits or particles, and
    at first blush, the prevailing theory–the Standard Model–
    seems to predict that all of them have no mass. Of course,
    that doesn’t make sense–even electrons weigh something.
    But if theorists simply assign masses to the particles, the
    theory goes mathematically haywire.

    Enter the Higgs boson. Physicists suspect that empty space
    is permeated by a Higgs field, which is a bit like an electric field.
    And just as an electric field consists of particles called photons,
    the Higgs field consists of particles called Higgs bosons. The
    Higgs field drags on particles to give them mass, akin to
    molasses tugging on a spoon. In particular, the field gives
    mass to subatomic particles called the W and Z bosons,
    which convey the weak nuclear force and weigh in at a
    staggering 86 and 97 times as much as a proton, respectively.

    Full article here: