Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What a week that was

The last week was very interesting for Sports and Science. Somewhat historic as well. Here is a quick recap of all the things that happened in this short time.

1. Spain's historic win at Euro 2012.
It's hard enough to win a Soccer tournament at such massively competitive world stage. Doing 2 in a row is way harder. Doing 3 in row, definitely deserves being labeled as historic. I wrote about it in my previous post.

2. Federer's win at Wimbeldon.
I don't think I have to say a lot about this, as this is obvious. Astonishing 17th grand slam title, regaining number 1 at the age of 30, what more a man can do ?

3. Anderson Silva's Win at UFC 148
Although UFC is gaining popularity, it still hasn't gone mainstream. More and more will be shown on Fox, so it just has begun its upward swing. Many think of it as too violent. I find it less violent than boxing, as often times the fights are decided by grappling skills. In any case, I enjoy watching UFC, and find Anderson Silva's 10th title defense legendary. In a field that requires insane physical fitness and a lion's heart, no one has been at the top for so long. And Silva does it convincingly. Jon Jones might surpass Silva's records, but till today, Silva has been the best pound for pound fighter in the world.

Now on to Science - where the discoveries are truly historic in nature.

4. Higgs Boson
The confirmation of this so called "God Particle" was one of the main objectives of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. To be honest, I don't understand the theory at all. To my layman brain, Higgs Boson has always felt like the "aether" that was supposed to permeate the space. But of course, I believe the modern scientists when they tell us, that Higgs Boson is based on sound mathematics, unlike the discredited "aether". This week the CERN announced that they have indeed found evidence of Higgs Boson in LHC. This is the most important discovery in particle physics, and it confirms The Standard Model. I wish there were more accessible books that explain the Higgs Boson, and particle physics in general.

5. Dark Matter Detected
With all the celebration about the Higgs Boson in the media, one other equally important discovery did not get as much mention. For the first time the dark matter was "observed directly". Dark Matter by definition does not interact with other matter. That's why it has been hard to detect it in spite of it being 5 times as plentiful. The only way to detect it as via its gravitational effects on neighboring matter. On the same day CERN announced about Higgs Boson, Nature announced about the first detection of dark matter "filament" joining 2 clusters of galaxies. Dark Matter is even more mysterious than Higss Boson, but it's at the cosmological scale, not quantum scale. I do not know if this discovery proves the hypothesis of Dark Matter. It does seem extraordinary, confirming that although we know precious little about the universe, we are perhaps on the right track.

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