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UPI NewsTrack Science and Technology News

July 3, 2012 at 5:08 PM   |   Comments

CERN gripped by Higgs boson fever

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 3 (UPI) -- Higgs boson fever has gripped Cern, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland that is home to the Large Hadron Collider, colleagues say.

Two teams of physicists at Cern will announce the results of their latest efforts to discover the particle, first proposed in 1964 by Edinburgh University physicist Peter Higgs.

Researchers say it is the most sought-after particle in modern science.

The Guardian said rumors and leaks from CERN suggest researchers have seen compelling evidence for the particle, though perhaps not enough to claim an official discovery that would be proof of an invisible energy field that fills the vacuum of space.

The theory is the Higgs energy field switched on a trillionth of a second after the big bang that flung the universe into existence.

"If something significant and new is found on Wednesday that would be fantastic, but we're not going to know firstly that it's a Higgs boson, or secondly what kind of Higgs particle it might be, until we've made a much more thorough investigation of how it behaves," Tara Shears, a particle physicist from Liverpool University who works at the lab, told the newspaper.


Dinosaur feathers revise image as lizards

EICHSTATT, Germany, July 3 (UPI) -- A well-preserved squirrel-tailed dinosaur fossil found in Germany suggests all dinosaurs had some sort of feathers, a researcher said.

The 150-million-year-old fossil found in a Bavarian limestone quarry dubbed Sciurumimus albersdoerferi was likely a young megalosaur, a group of large, two-legged meat-eating dinosaurs, National Geographic reported Monday.

"I was overwhelmed when I first saw it. Even apart from the preservation of feathers, this is certainly one of the most beautiful dinosaur fossils ever found," paleontologist Oliver Rauhut said.

Previously, paleontologists have found feathers only on coelurosaurs. Sciurumimus is from a different branch of the dinosaur family tree, leading Rauhut to suggest all dinosaurs had some sort of feathering.

"Probably all dinosaurs were feathered," Rauhut was quoted as saying, "and we should say good bye to the familiar image of the overgrown lizards."

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


New star looks like cosmic skyrocket

GREENBELT, Md., July 3 (UPI) -- The Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image that resembles a cosmic skyrocket, NASA said Tuesday.

The image, described as bluish plumes of gas spewing from a new-forming star like a stream of smoke and sparks from a rocket, is the result of Herbig-Haro 110.

"Resembling a Fourth of July skyrocket, Herbig-Haro 110 is a geyser of hot gas from a newborn star that splashes up against and ricochets off the dense core of a cloud of molecular hydrogen," NASA said in a release. "Although the plumes of gas look like whiffs of smoke, they are actually billions of times less dense than the smoke from a July 4 firework."

The Hubble photo shows the integrated light from plumes, which are light-years across.

This image is a composite of data taken 2004, 2005 and 2011, NASA said.


Tablet PCs poised to take over PC market

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 3 (UPI) -- Tablet PCs will overtake PC notebook computers by 2016, U.S. market research firm NPD DisplaySearch predicted Tuesday.

Shipment of tablets, such as Apple's iPad, are expected to reach 416 million in 2017, up from 121 million units this year. Notebook shipments are projected to grow to 393 million in 2017, up from 208 million this year.

More than half of all tablets shipped this year will go to North America, Japan and Western Europe.

"Consumer preference for mobile computing devices is shifting from notebook to tablet PCs, particularly in mature markets," Richard Shim, senior analyst at NPD DisplaySearch, said in a release. "While the lines between tablet and notebook PCs are blurring, we expect mature markets to be the primary regions for tablet PC adoption.

The DisplaySearch quarterly shipment and forecast report said tablet PCs are expected to evolve in form and performance, making them a compelling alternative to notebook PCs. The tablets are expected to incorporate multi-core processors, increasingly stable operating systems, growing app libraries and higher resolution displays, DisplaySearch said.

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