Household Fuel Bills – Up Again!

 

Energy companies are gearing up to increase household fuel bills by removing the cheapest gas and electricity deals from the market.

Annual bills might rise by as much as £200 over the next year, according to one price comparison site.

The Bank of England stated in its recent inflation report that the UK would see a 15 per cent rise in domestic gas prices and 10 per cent rise in electricity tariffs between July and March 2012, driven by turmoil in the Middle East.

Energy companies have already moved to scrap the cheapest deals available. Scottish Power and Eon both removed the best online deals available at the start of May, increasing the lowest rate available by slightly more than £50. The cheapest deals were about £900 at the start of the year but are now about £950.

The report followed an announcement from Centrica, owner of British Gas, that wholesale energy costs this winter would increase 25 per cent compared with the previous year. Scottish Power has also said that suppliers would probably have to raise prices in the coming months.

All providers pushed up prices for gas and electricity following the coldest winter in 100 years last year. Although there have since been tweaks to some offers, prices have continued to rise.

According to one charity, the cost of energy bills has become the fastest-growing financial problem for households. The National Debtline said that thousands of people were being pushed into debt by rising utility costs.

Britain must get used to price rises on fuel bills or face blackouts, Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, warned yesterday. Announcing a major shake-up of the power supply market, he insisted that increases in fuel bills would still be less than the rises predicted if the country did not invest in low carbon energy and relied on fossil fuels instead.

The reforms would help secure the £110 billion investment needed to replace the quarter of UK power stations which were set to close in the next decade, Mr Huhne added.

“We have 25 years of dithering on energy investment and now decision day is coming,” he said. “You can have investment or you can have blackouts. What do you want?”

The shake-up will see companies given long-term contracts guaranteeing a stable price for electricity from low-carbon sources, such as nuclear and renewables.

Mr Huhne said the deals would give investors the certainty needed to invest in power sources with high up-front costs — such as nuclear reactors and offshore wind farms — reducing the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels and the impact on consumers of rising gas and oil prices.

Rebekah Brooks

 

Rebekah Brooks (née Wade, born 27 May 1968) is a British journalist and newspaper editor. She is chief executive of News International, having previously served as the youngest editor of a British newspaper as editor of the News of the World (from 2000 to 2003) and the first female editor of The Sun (from 2003 to 2009). She married actor Ross Kemp in 2002 (without taking his surname); in 2009 they divorced, and she married former racehorse trainer and author Charlie Brooks.

In 2011, she was a prominent figure in the News of the World phone hacking affair, having been the editor when a number of illegal phone hackings were allegedly carried out by the newspaper.

Brooks grew up in Daresbury, Cheshire, and decided she wanted to be a journalist from the age of fourteen.After attending Appleton Hall County Grammar School in Warrington, she worked for the French magazine L’architecture d’aujourd’hui in Paris, before returning to Britain to work for Eddy Shah’s Messenger Group. In Brooks’ entry in Who’s Who she stated that she studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, but did not claim to have a degree, and did not later answer questions about this; it has been suggested that, since she was working at the age of 20 for the News of the World, “we can safely assume that she did not study at the Sorbonne in any meaningful way”.

She joined the Sunday newspaper News of the World in 1989 as a secretary, before working as a feature writer for its ‘Sunday’ magazine, and eventually becoming the paper’s deputy editor. “In 1994, she prepared for the News of the World’s interview with James Hewitt, a paramour of Princess Diana, by reserving a hotel suite and hiring a team to “kit it out with secret tape devices in various flowerpots and cupboards”, Piers Morgan, her former boss and now a CNN talk show host (and ABC talent-show judge}, wrote in his memoir The Insider”, the New York Times relayed in July, 2011. In 1998 she transferred to the News of the World’s daily counterpart, The Sun, where she was appointed its deputy editor. In this period, she reportedly attempted to persuade David Yelland to end the Page Three Girls feature. She then returned to the News of the World in 2000 as editor; at the time, she was the youngest editor of a national British newspaper.

While at the News of the World, she oversaw its controversial campaign of “naming and shaming” convicted child sex offenders, after the murder of Sarah Payne. The paper’s decision led to angry mobs terrorising those they suspected of being child sex offenders, which included several cases of mistaken identity and one instance where a paediatrician had her house vandalised, apparently by people who misunderstood her occupational title to be the same as paedophile. The campaign was labelled “grossly irresponsible” journalism by the then Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, Tony Butler, but Brooks defended the paper’s actions in a rare interview on the BBC’s Breakfast with Frost, stating that it was “only right that the public have controlled access” to information on sex offenders. The paper’s already strong sales held up well under her leadership, while those of rival Sunday newspapers The People and the Sunday Mirror fell more sharply.

In January 2003 she returned to The Sun, replacing her former boss David Yelland, to become its first female editor. On Brooks’ first day as editor the Page Three girl was Rebekah Parmar-Teasdale – the caption to the picture was “Rebekah from Wapping”. Soon after becoming editor, Brooks ran the headline “Bonkers Bruno Locked Up” concerning the mental health problems of former heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno. The next day The Sun ran a 600-word reply from the head of the mental health charity Sane, and since then has adopted a style guide on covering mental health stories prepared by the same charity. Brooks and her husband spent a day with the head of Sane and made donations to the charity.

During a March 2003 appearance before the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport as part of an inquiry into privacy issues, Brooks stated that her newspaper had paid police officers for information. Alison Clark, the director of corporate affairs at News International, later stated: “It is not company practice to pay police for information”.

Brooks has been chairman of the organisation Women in Journalism, and has served as a judge for the “Guardian Student Media Awards” in November 2003 and the tenth annual Police Bravery Awards in July 2005, the latter of which was sponsored by The Sun.

In June 2009 it was announced that she would leave The Sun in September 2009 to become chief executive of the newspaper’s parent company, News International. Dominic Mohan was named her successor as editor of The Sun.

Solar Power-Advantages and Disadvantages

 

There are many advantages worth considering when it comes to solar energy and everything that it offers. There are many advantages that solar energy has over oil energy. Not only does solar energy benefit your pocketbook, but it also benefits the environment as well. However, there are two sides to everything, and there is a list of solar power disadvantages to accompany the list of advantages.

Advantage: Solar energy is a completely renewable resource. This means that even when we cannot make use of the sun’s power because of nighttime or cloudy and stormy days, we can always rely on the sun showing up the very next day as a constant and consistent power source.
Disadvantage: The Solar Cells and Solar Panels that are needed to harness solar energy tend to be very expensive when you first purchase them.
Advantage: Oil, which is what most people currently use to power their homes, is not a renewable resource. This means that as soon as the oil is gone, it is gone forever and we will no longer have power or energy.

Disadvantage: Solar power cannot be harnessed during a storm, on a cloudy day or at night. This limits how much power can be saved for future days. Some days you may still need to rely on oil to power your home.

Advantage: Solar cells make absolutely no noise at all. They do not make a single peep while extracting useful energy from the sun. On the other hand, the giant machines utilized for pumping oil are extremely noisy and therefore very impractical.

Advantage: Solar energy creates absolutely no pollution. This is perhaps the most important advantage that makes solar energy so much more practical than oil. Oil burning releases harmful greenhouses gases, carcinogens and carbon dioxide into our precious air.

Advantage: Very little maintenance is required to keep solar cells running. There are no moving parts in a solar cell, which makes it impossible to really hurt them. Solar cells tend to last a good long time with only an annual cleaning to worry about.

Advantage: Solar panels and solar lighting may seem quite expensive when you first purchase it, but in the long run you will find yourself saving quite a great deal of money. After all, it does not cost anything to harness the power of the sun. Unfortunately, paying for oil is an expensive prospect and the cost is still rising consistently. Why pay for expensive energy when you can harness it freely?

Advantage: Solar powered panels and products are typically extremely easy to install. Wires, cords and power sources are not needed at all, making this an easy prospect to employ.

Advantage: Solar power technology is improving consistently over time, as people begin to understand all of the benefits offered by this incredible technology. As our oil reserves decline, it is important for us to turn to alternative sources for energy.

Overall, it seems that solar power is simply a more harmonious energy resource. To obtain other energy sources, there is a requirement of harvesting fossil fuels, animal matter, or plant matter. Meanwhile, sunlight continually hits the earth in large amounts regardless of whether it is being utilized as an energy resource or not. Focusing solely on the application of solar power, instead of its application in addition to seeking out and obtaining the raw resource, omits an unnecessary step.

Solar power is also an attractive investment due to the added value it gives a home. With the housing market slowing down considerably a solar power system definitely helps add to the desirability and resale value of a home. A home with a fixed electric bill from solar is less expensive to live in, and thus is very appealing to potential buyers.

What is the difference between the Iphone 3GS and the Iphone 4?

 

The iPhone 4 is 24 per cent thinner than its predecessor at 9.3mm instead of 12.3mm. It’s also ever so slightly wider by 3.5mm. In terms of weight, it’s slightly heavier at 137g instead of 135g.

In terms of Wi-Fi, iPhone 4 adds 802.11n to the mix alongside 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.1. The 7.2Mbps HSDPA, 3G and EDGE specs are no different

The accelerometer, a GPS, compass and Wi-Fi location specs remain unchanged from the 3GS, but there’s new hardware elsewhere – three axis gyro that can add increased six-point movement accuracy into apps and games.

Steve Jobs claims a 40 per cent improvement for the iPhone 4 over the 3GS, citing 7 hours talk time on 3G for iPhone 4 – up from 5 hours on the 3GS. Standby time is now a cited 300 hours but, interestingly, that was also the same for the 3GS!

You do get an hour more browsing in the stats (6 from 5) and 10 hours more audio playback (40 from 30) – though video is unchanged at 10 hours.

The iPhone 4 is available at capacities of 16 and 32GB, though sadly not 64GB. The iPhone 3GS has regressed though – from being available with 16 and 32GB, models produced from now will be fitted with 8GB of memory instead in order to fill the budget shoes of the now defunct iPhone 3G – the end of a truly disruptive handset.

The 3GS white is now discontinued – all are now black, while iPhone 4 gets black and white variants. Apple is also shipping ‘bumpers’ – coloured surrounds . Six colours are available.

The iPhone 4 display remains the same size as that on the 3GS, with a 3.5-inch diagonal. However, it’s completely different, with four times as many pixels in a so-called ‘retina display’.

That name is because Apple says the display has more pixels than the human eye can actually distinguish.

The 3GS has a 480 x 320-pixel resolution at 163ppi, while the iPhone 4 ups this significantly, giving a 960 x 640-pixel resolution at 326ppi and an 800:1 contrast ratio. While the screen isn’t OLED as with some other smartphones, Apple says it’s IPS display tech is better – it’s already been used on the iPad.

While the 3GS supported video recording, it was VGA (30fps). The iPhone 4, as predicted, pokes a finger in the eye of devices like the Flip HD, with its own HD (720p, 30fps) recording.

The iPhone 4 ups the game significantly in the photography department, but it still will disappoint against the very best camera phones. Still, against the 3GS it’s positively brilliant, with 5 megapixels instead of 3 megapixels and the addition of an LED flash (which can also be used for the video).

The tap to focus is retained. iPhone 4 also adds on a front-facing camera for FaceTime Wi-Fi video calls and more.

The inputs and outputs are largely unchanged, but there’s an extra mic on the iPhone 4 for better call quality through noise cancellation.

The buttons remain in the same places, but the volume buttons have been separated out into up and down.

Sadly, there’s no rotation lock button as on the iPad.

Is Europe’s Economy in Meltdown?

 

Greek Economic Crisis

The economy of Greece is the 27th largest in the world by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and the 34th largest at purchasing power parity (PPP), according to data by the World Bank for the year 2009. Per capita, it is ranked 24th by nominal GDP and 23rd at PPP according to the 2009 data.

A developed country with the 22nd highest human development and quality of life indices in the world, Greece is a member of the European Union, the eurozone, the OECD, the World Trade Organization and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization.

The public sector accounts for about 40% of GDP. The service sector contributes 78.5% of total GDP, industry 17.6% and agriculture 4%. Greece is the 31st most globalized country in the world and is classified as a high-income economy.

2010-2011 debt crisis

In the first weeks of 2010, there was renewed anxiety about excessive national debt. Some politicians, notably Angela Merkel, have sought to attribute some of the blame for the crisis to hedge funds and other speculators stating that “institutions bailed out with public funds are exploiting the budget crisis in Greece and elsewhere”.

On 23 April 2010, the Greek government requested that the EU/IMF bailout package (made of relatively high-interest loans) be activated. The IMF had said it was “prepared to move expeditiously on this request”. The initial size of the loan package was €45 billion ($61 billion) and its first installment covered €8.5 billion of Greek bonds that became due for repayment.

On 27 April 2010, the Greek debt rating was decreased to BB+ (a ‘junk’ status) by Standard & Poor amid fears of default by the Greek government. The yield of the Greek two-year bond reached 15.3% in the secondary market. Standard & Poor’s estimates that in the event of default investors would lose 30–50% of their money. Stock markets worldwide and the Euro currency declined in response to this announcement.

On 1 May, a series of austerity measures was proposed. The proposal helped persuade Germany, the last remaining holdout, to sign on to a larger, 110 billion euro EU/IMF loan package over three years for Greece (retaining a relatively high interest of 5% for the main part of the loans, provided by the EU). On 5 May, a national strike was held in opposition to the planned spending cuts and tax increases. Protest on that date was widespread and turned violent in Athens, killing three people.

The November 2010 revisions of 2009 deficit and debt levels made accomplishment of the 2010 targets even harder, and indications signal a recession harsher than originally feared.

Japan, Italy and Belgium’s creditors are mainly domestic institutions, but Greece and Portugal have a higher percent of their debt in the hands of foreign creditors, which is seen by certain analysts as more difficult to sustain. Greece, Portugal, and Spain have a ‘credibility problem’, because they lack the ability to repay adequately due to their low growth rate, high deficit, less FDI, etc.

On a poll published on 18 May 2011, 62% of the people questioned felt that the IMF memorandum that Greece signed in 2010 was a bad decision that hurt the country, while 80% had no faith in the Minister of Finance, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, to handle the crisis. Evangelos Venizelos replaced Mr. Papakonstantinou on June 17. 75% of those polled gave a negative image of the IMF, and 65% feel it is hurting Greece’s economy. 64% felt that the possibility of bankruptcy is likely, and when asked about their fears for the near future, polls showed a fear of: unemployment (97%), poverty (93%) and the closure of businesses (92%).

On 13 June 2011, Standard and Poors lowered the Greek sovereign debt to a CCC rating, the lowest in the world, following the findings of a bilateral EU-IMF audit which called for further austerity measures. After the major political parties failed to reach consensus on the necessary measures to qualify for a further bailout package, and amidst riots and a general strike, Prime Minister George Papandreou proposed a re-shuffled cabinet, and asked for a vote of confidence in the parliament.] The crisis sent ripples around the world, with major stock exchanges exhibiting losses.

Some experts argue that the only sensible option at this stage is for the EU to engineer an “orderly default” on Greece’s public debt which would allow Athens to withdraw simultaneously from the eurozone and reintroduce its national currency the drachma at a debased rate. Economists who favor this approach to solve the Greek debt crisis typically argue that a delay in organising an orderly default would wind up hurting EU lenders and neighbouring European countries even more.

The Risk of Tidal Flooding in London

 

The Thames Barrier is closed when high water levels at Southend and the flow of the River Thames at Teddington Weir (the tidal limit of the Thames) reach critical levels. Over the last 10 years this closure rate has become higher since the first 20 years of operation.

The Thames Barrier was commissioned in 1982 and cost ,£530 million. It was designed to provide protection for London from tidal flooding until 2030 (and, by raising the gates, beyond). Over 150 km2 of London lies below high tide level and the homes of 750,000 Londoners are at risk from a major storm surge. Flooding would result in immense disruption to the capitals commercial activities and could cause direct damage equivalent to around ,£20 billion, threatening London’s future as an international centre for trade and commerce.

Historical records of rising tide levels in London reflect the fact that SE England is tilting downwards at around 30 cm a century, and that settlements have narrowed the river – the width of the Thames at Westminster is now about one-third of its width in Roman times.

Currently, the major flood threat to central London is from storm surges – when meteorological conditions (primarily atmospheric pressure and wind) exaggerate tidal peaks. Global warming and the resulting rise in sea levels (involving both thermal expansion and contributions from ice melt) will increase this risk. Climate change may also increase the frequency of synoptic patterns which give rise to dangerous storm surges.

Decisions on whether to close the Barrier also take into account the amount of water flowing in the River Thames. Thus, changes in rainfall and evaporation which alter the flow of the Thames (particularly during the winter) may also affect the number of closures of the Barrier. Any future changes in the operating rules could also influence closure frequency.

Historical references to tidal flooding in London extend back at least until the eleventh century. Pepys refers to all of Whitehall having been drowned in 1663. A continuous record of high tides at London Bridge is available from 1780, showing that the level of the highest tides (relative to the land) has been rising steadily over the centuries, totalling over 1.5 metres. About 40% of this rise is attributed to the land sinking.

However, the peak level registered during the extremely damaging tidal surge in 1953 has not been closely approached during the period since the Barrier was constructed. Nonetheless, the tendency over the last 17  years has been for the closures to become more frequent. Closures over the 1993-99 period greatly exceed those for the preceding 10 years. The 1990s were characterised by significant year-on-year variability. Nine closures were required in 1993 but none in 1997 when water levels in the Thames were low following prolonged drought – high tides which would normally have triggered a closure required no action. The six closures during 1999 all occurred during December.

Because the Thames River Barrier is now subject to different operating rules, it may be less useful as an indicator. The barrier is now closed to retain water in the Thames River as well as to lessen the risk of flooding. (It was closed on 9 successive tides at the start of 2003.) Thus, the number of closures has increased greatly in recent years. This indicator would only be useful if it were possible to distinguish the number of closures made specifically to lessen flood risk. The EA officer at the barrier would be able to assess what is possible.

What is a Corporate Audit?

 

Sarbanes Oxley and Corporate Auditing

A corporate audit is an examination of financial or operational procedures at a corporation.

Audits may be conducted by an internal or external corporate auditing team, and they can serve a variety of functions.

While many people think of audits by tax authorities when they hear the word “audit,” corporate audits are not just about taxes. Auditing is designed to confirm that companies are operating within the law, and that their stated ethical standards are upheld by their practices.

In the financial sense, a corporate audit involves detailed inspection of financial accounts and financial practices. Auditors look for financial irregularities which might be signs of evasion, embezzling, and other illegal activities.

For some financial audits, the auditors may also be concerned with how to help the company operate more efficiently and effectively, looking for ways in which the company can cut costs and improve performance. Others may be more interested in making sure that the company’s financial situation is accurately represented.

For publicly traded companies, financial audits and disclosures of financial information are required to protect shareholders and members of the general public. The most recent audit results and financial filings must be made available to those who ask. Auditing is designed to act in a regulatory capacity, keeping companies fiscally responsible and honest about their financial practices and economic situation.

What Does Sarbanes-Oxley Have to Do with Me?

What do Enron, Worldcom, Qwest and Anytown Community Bank have in common? The answer is that each can be expected to feel the impact of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, regardless of whether it is a publicly-traded company.

US Congress’s response to corporate fraud, greed, and slip-shod accounting practices was quick in election year 2002. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 passed by Congress on July 30, 2002 was Congress’s response to the headlines appearing daily in the business sections of newspapers chronicling corporate mismanagement and SEC laxness. The response was not unlike one with which all bankers are familiar.

What companies need to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley?

All publicly-traded companies in the United States, including all wholly-owned subsidiaries, and all publicly-traded non-US companies doing in business in the US are effected.

In addition, any private companies that are preparing for their initial public offering (IPO) may also need to comply with certain provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley

You Tube – The Secret Revealed!

 

How did Youtube become to be so popular?

Even before the rise of YouTube as a central hub for video, we’ve been obsessed as a culture with sharing funny and amazing videos with our friends.

While most videos get a couple views and fade into the background, a select few not only gain tens of millions of views, but make a lasting impact on culture as well.

These videos quickly become Internet memes that nobody can ever seem to stop talking about.

From the Dancing Baby of the 1990s to the phenomenon that is Susan Boyle, the web has seen its share of viral video sensations.

All this has been possible due to the popularity of Youtube!

YouTube is a video sharing website on which registered users can upload, share, and  non registered users view videos, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005.

The company is based in San Bruno, California, and uses Adobe Flash Video and HTML5 technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content, including movie clips, TV clips, and music videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging and short original videos.

Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals, although media corporations including CBS, BBC, Vevo, Hulu and other organizations offer some of their material via the site, as part of the YouTube partnership program.

Unregistered users may watch videos, and registered users may upload an unlimited number of videos. Videos that are considered to contain potentially offensive content are available only to registered users 18 years old and older.

In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, and now operates as a subsidiary of Google.

Youtube bases it’s concept on anybody can upload a video, anybody with a little know how and the use of a video camera can create a online movie.

This was really brought light years forward by built in Camera’s on mobile phones, it really is that easy to video, create, edit and upload a video for the masses!

YouTube has come to define the era of online video, Justin Bieber still at number 1 with Baby, which recently become the first video to earn a half a billion views! Bieber and Eminem between them make up half of the top 10 most watched videos on Youtube!

Cloud Computing Made Simple

 

iCloud what’s it all about?

iCloud is a cloud service from Apple Inc. announced on June 6, 2011 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

The service allows users to store data such as music files and automatically sync between multiple devices such as: iPhones, iPods, iPads, Macintoshes and personal computers.

It also replaces MobileMe, acting as a data syncing center for email, contacts, calendars, bookmark, notes, to-do lists and other data.

What is iCloud or cloud computing?

Everybody is sure that cloud computing is key to the future of IT, but people often seem unsure quite what it is. In fact, it’s an umbrella term for a number of different trends, all involving the internet and it’s potential to simplify the way we use computers and extend their capabilities.

The “cloud” is the internet, and the term is fitting – it’s large, out there somewhere, and fuzzy at the edges. Cloud computing is about putting more of your material out there and less on PCs or servers that a business runs for itself.

What are the benefits of Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is an online form of computing (Web 2.0 in fact) where users can access applications via a browser, while the application is installed and stored (as well as the data) on a server. This is a whole new form of computing and is allowing thousands of users from all around the world to access something without having to download and install anything on their own computers. An example of this would be Google Docs.

Though it may not sound safe, there are many benefits for cloud computing. In fact, many companies use it, including Amazon, Yahoo, Google, Zoho, Microsoft and Salesforce. This becoming the norm in computing and software, though there is some risk. So what is the big to do about cloud computing? What makes it so fabulous? Here are just a few of the reasons.

Reduced Cost It helps keep the cost down for both the users and website owners. Also for the users, they can access it from any computer and still have the file they need. For the owners, they do not need to reproduce the software and ship it out. They just rent the server space.

More Storage They can hold more storage than a personal computer can.  It takes away the need for the upgrading computer memory, which also helps keep the cost down for the companies and users alike.

Computing Flexibility It has more flexibility than other network computing systems and saves time plus money for people who are in a time crunch.

Mobility Like most networks it allows users to connect even without their own computers, meaning you can do your work from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection and a computer access. So you can take your work with you on your wedding and vacations.

What is the Higgs Boson?

 

The Higgs boson is frequently referred to as ‘the god particle’, a name adopted after Leon Lederman’s book. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman, the Higgs boson is a particle believed to bestow mass on all other particles.

 

Higgs boson is a hypothetical elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. It is the only Standard Model particle not yet observed. An experimental observation of it would help to explain how otherwise massless elementary particles cause matter to have mass. If it exists, the Higgs boson is an integral and pervasive component of the material world.

 

No experiment has yet directly detected the Higgs boson; the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, which came on line on 10 September 2008, is expected to provide experimental evidence that will confirm or reject the particle’s existence when fully operational in 2009. The Higgs mechanism, which gives mass to vector bosons, was theorized in August 1964 by François Englert and Robert Brout (“boson scalaire”);in October of the same year by Peter Higgs, working from the ideas of Philip Anderson; and independently by Gerald Guralnik, C. R. Hagen, and Tom Kibble, who worked out the results by the spring of 1963. The three papers written on this discovery by Guralnik, Hagen, Kibble, Higgs, Brout, and Englert were each recognized as milestone papers by Physical Review Letters 50th anniversary celebration.

 

The Higgs boson plays a key role in the standard model of physics (the theory on which physicists base their whole understanding of matter), proving the existence or absence of the Higgs boson could change the entire foundation of physics, indicating the existence of particles and forces not yet imagined and paving the way for an entirely new set of laws.

 

The world’s most powerful atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider at Cern near Geneva, has been running at full tilt for more than a year. Yet, despite rumours on the internet of exciting discoveries, the thousands of scientists working on the LHC have not yet found the elusive Higgs boson, or previously hidden dimensions of space or indeed any “new physics”.

 

Cern’s top scientists, gathered at the Royal Society in London last week to discuss the latest LHC results, asked the media not to expect too much too soon. They want another 18 months to find out whether the Higgs boson – the subatomic particle supposedly responsible for the fundamental property of mass – actually exists.

 

“I’m pretty confident that towards the end of 2012 we will have an answer to the Shakespeare question for the Higgs boson: to be or not to be?” said Rolf Heuer, Cern director-general.