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Higgs boson

Print edition : Aug 10, 2012

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CERN/AP

CERN/AP

In a quantum leap in physics, scientists claimed to have spotted a subatomic particle that is consistent with the Higgs boson, or the God particle, the last piece of an elegant theory of the building blocks of the universe predicted 48 years ago but never seen (Cover Story, July 27).

The discovery of the Higgs boson narrows the certainty deficit. We need more evidence to say for certain that this is indeed the Higgs boson of the Standard Model.

Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN, rightly said at the special conference called by CERN in Geneva: It was a global effort, it is a global effort. It is a global success. The number of scientists involved in this discovery at CERN shows the immense scientific talent that India possesses, which unfortunately gets utilised only in foreign lands.

The Indian government should invest more in a research institute and facility for fundamental science.

Bosons are a class of subatomic particles, named after the Indian scientist Satyendra Nath Bose, who collaborated with Albert Einstein in the 1920s. Much of science exists on mathematical assumptions. It will continue to do so. Pieces of physical evidence are few and far between. They will continue to remain so. Much of Srinivasa Ramanujans work is yet to be proven. In the quantum world it is of no consequence. The mathematical possibility of death or life is what matters.

The Higgs particle was a mathematical possibility. All CERN will prove, if it does, is that a particle exists with much the same characteristics as the Higgs boson.

The spending of great sums of money in the pursuit of an elusive reality could be a mistake. Better use can be made of that money even in basic research. The physicists tendency to spend unimaginable sums of public money needs to be tempered by the demands of other sciences.

Your Cover Story The Higgs hunt is a fine analysis of mans search to find and know the origin and wonders of the universe through science. And he tries to attain the same through spirituality, too. And the process goes on.

A veteran

Pranab Mukherjee is one of the most successful leaders in coalition politics (Pranabs progress, July 27). He is acceptable to both the ruling and opposition parties. While discussing his many faults, we cannot ignore his experience, management skills, and sense of timing.

Even though Indira Gandhi lost power in the elections conducted soon after the Emergency, Indians forgave her and brought her back to power within two years. When this is the case, any discussion of Pranabs role during that period is an exercise in futility. In any case he is head and shoulders above the P.A. Sangma, who is a rank opportunist.

Sarkeguda

The massacre of 20 people at Sarkeguda by the CRPF and the Chhattisgarh police looks like a pre-planned operation (Firing in the dark, July 27). The claim that the operation was undertaken to flush out Maoists is disputed by the villagers.

This serious matter requires a thorough investigation by an independent agency.

The girl child

According to Census 2011, there is a shocking decline in the child sex ratio in Maharashtra (The unwanted girl, July 27). For every 1,000 boys in the State, there are only 883 girls. The situation is a lot worse than it was in 2001, when the ratio was 913. At this rate the ratio will be one girl for two or three boys in a decade or two. This is really a sad state of affairs.

It is shocking to read that a doctor couple played an active role in sex-selective abortions in Maharashtras Solapur with the sole intention of amassing wealth. Though, we have completed 64 years of Independence, successive Central and State governments have abysmally failed to stop this menace.

R&D in India

India is well behind countries such as China, South Korea and Mexico in the field of research and development (Portals of research, July 27).

The shortage of people with PhD degrees is only adding to the problem. As a result, most research centres are running without talented research scholars.

Adarsh scam

The 31-storey Adarsh Society building was constructed on military land that had been meant for homes for ex-servicemen and widows of Kargil war heroes (Towards trial, July 27). Instead, senior defence officers, bureaucrats and politicians joined hands to grab the flats.

The Adarsh scam, the 2G and Commonwealth Games scandals have shaken the nation.

Public health

The primary aim of the government in recent years has been to make people believe that only multinational corporations or other private institutions can provide them with better health care and education (Public health in crisis, Cover Story, July 13). People prefer quacks to doctors in government hospitals.

Mehdi Hasan

The obituary on Mehdi Hasan (Master of ghazal, July 13) was touching. A couple of errors crept in though. It is raga Bhimpalasi not Bhimpals, and the famous ghazal Mohabbat Karne Wale was written by Hafeez Hoshiarpuri, not Sahir Hoshiarpuri.

An inspiring life

Teofilo Stevenson was a great sportsperson (A boxing legend, July 13). His life is inspiration to young sportspersons.

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