Thursday, July 5, 2012

God particle: Physicists celebrate Higgs boson 'triumph'

The focus Wednesday at CERN was the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that exists for a mere fraction of a second. Long theorized but never glimpsed, the so-called God particle is thought to be key to understanding the existence of all mass in the universe. The revelation Wednesday that it — or some version of it — had almost certainly been detected amid more than hundreds of trillions of high-speed collisions in a 17-mile track near Geneva prompted a group of normally reserved scientists to erupt with joy.

UN declares 2014 International Year of Crystallography

Announced July 4, 2012 by the IUCr President: This is to communicate the excellent news that the United Nations yesterday declared that 2014 will be the official International Year of Crystallography. The initiative had been proposed by the International Union of Crystallography and spearheaded by the Moroccan Crystallographic Association.  They have worked closely with the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco in the United Nations along with helpful support from a number of delegations to the United Nations from other countries. The IUCr thanks the Moroccan authorities for the help and cooperation extended to us in bringing this proposal to fruition. The declaration of IYCr 2014 provides all of us with a wonderful opportunity to sustain and renew our commitment to this outstanding subject. It has brought us together, whether we consider ourselves as crystallographers, or as physicists, chemists, biologists and materials scientists who work extensively with crystallography and its related techniques. Ours is a very old subject, which shifted its emphasis from a study of crystals to a study of structures over a hundred years ago. Today, the subject is poised towards a study of dynamics and properties. All healthy scientific endeavour can recreate and reinvent: crystallography is a meaningful example of this. I would like each and every one of you to use this opportunity to stimulate and ignite an interest in crystallography amongst students, scientists and the general public. The declaration of IYCr 2014 by the United Nations is the finest endorsement for a subject that has weathered time and tide and continues to thrive. It signifies that crystallography has continuing cultural relevance and, in the end, this is the only justification for carrying out science in this rapidly changing world with its political and social flux and constant economic variables. I will write about IYCr 2014 in more detail in the IUCr Newsletter but, in the meantime, I would ask all of you to participate in this happy occasion. Gautam R. Desiraju President, International Union of Crystallography

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Washington D.C. - Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a hearing to examine the role that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) national scientific user facilities play in enabling basic research that drives innovation and economic growth. The hearing also examined challenges and opportunities associated with user facility planning and management. Tony Lanzirotti (U. Chicago/APS), immediate Past Chair of NUFO, offered compelling testimony to the Subcommittee, along with Persis Drell (SLAC) and Steve Wasserman (Eli Lilly/APS). Video of their testimony is found by clicking on the link above.