Short Science, June 2, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 June, 2013, 2:44am


Crew takes short cut to space station

A Russian spaceship took a shortcut to the International Space Station this past week, delivering a veteran cosmonaut, a rookie Italian astronaut and an American mother on her second flight to the outpost in less than six hours. The capsule slipped into its berthing port about 402 kilometres above the south Pacific Ocean. Typically the journey takes two days, but engineers have developed new flight procedures. Reuters


Higgs Boson physicists win prestigious prize

A British physicist and his Belgian colleague, who all but identified the mysterious "God particle" that holds the universe together, have won a prestigious Spanish prize. Peter Higgs, 84, who gave his name to the Higgs Boson, an elusive subatomic particle, and Francois Englert, 80, won the Prince of Asturias science prize. They won it jointly with the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), which runs the huge underground particle-smashing chamber in Switzerland where experiments to track down the boson take place. The two scientists separately developed theories of the particle's existence in the 1960s. Higgs, a physics professor at Edinburgh University, theorised that the boson was what gave mass to matter as the universe cooled after the big bang. In July 2012, CERN announced that a particle likely to be the Higgs had been found. AFP


HK$30b earmarked to fund science projects

Funds totalling 23.8 billion yuan (HK$29.8 billion) are set to finance science projects in China this year, according to the National Natural Science Foundation. About 71 per cent of the funds will be covered by the central government. The foundation has received more than 158,000 applications for funding so far this year. It said it would promote research integrity in the country by completing amended regulations to punish misconduct and by creating a database for cases of violations of research ethics. In 2012, the foundation processed more than 177,000 applications. Of the total, 38,411 items were eligible for a portion of funds totalling 23.7 billion yuan. Xinhua