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September 16, 2015

Subway sandwich empire co-founder Fred DeLuca dies

Subway sandwich empire co-founder Fred DeLuca dies

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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Fifty years after starting his first sandwich shop as a teenager, Subway CEO and co-founder Fred DeLuca died on Monday. He was 67 and suffering from cancer.

A Subway restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Image: Ian Thomson.

Subway yesterday announced his death, but not the location. He had developed leukaemia, which the company announced in 2013. The business was founded with friend Peter Buck who lent DeLuca $1,000 to open Pete’s Super Submarines in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The company remains based in the state.

By 1968 the business was renamed Subway and the two young entrepreneurs began looking at franchising as a method of expansion. It worked: With over 44,000 locations Subway is the world’s largest fast food franchise. The company has locations in 110 countries.

Subway brands itself as a healthy alternative on the fast food market. It has faced various controversies: ingredients, contracts with franchisees, and longtime advertiser Jared Fogle have all come under scrutiny. Fogle left the company this year after admitting underage sex and child pornography offences.

“I knew nothing about making sandwiches, nor the food industry,” DeLuca would later write of his 1965 startup. Growing up he lived in state-owned housing in The Bronx, New York City. Forbes estimated his 2015 wealth at around $3.5 billion.



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September 13, 2013

Wikinews interviews Dr. Michael Mazilu on creating world\’s fastest spinning manmade object

Wikinews interviews Dr. Michael Mazilu on creating world’s fastest spinning manmade object

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Friday, September 13, 2013

The equipment used. Description by researcher Michael Mazilu: “The picture shows: in the middle the vacuum chamber with the focussing and collecting microscope objectives. The microscopic gyroscope is levitated by the laser beam coming from below which at the same time is used to apply a torque to the gyroscope. We detect the rotation and oscillation of the gyroscope using the light scattered by it and collected by the top microscope objective.”
Image: Yoshihiko Arita.

A study in Nature Communications last month reported the University of St Andrews near Edinburgh, Scotland was briefly home to the world’s fastest spinning manmade object. Physicists accelerated a microscopic sphere of atoms to 600 million revolutions per minute; it then, according to press coverage, disintegrated. Wikinews contacted the team to learn more.

Dr. Yoshiko Arita
Image: Supplied by Michael Mazilu.

Dr. Michael Mazilu
Image: Supplied by Michael Mazilu.

Prof. Kishan Dholakia
Image: Supplied by Michael Mazilu.

An overlay on a detail of the above image, illustrating where the key parts of the equipment are
Image: Yoshihiko Arita.

The experiment was designed to explore the boundary between conventional physics, which applies to larger objects, and quantum physics, which applies only to extremely small objects. Subatomic particles obey a very different set of rules than the items we see every day, but the behaviour of particles at just above quantum levels remains enigmatic.

The team wanted to expand upon research using single atoms or molecules, instead constructing a four-micrometre thick sphere of calcium carbonate, in a crystaline form called vaterite, in a bid to examine systems containing over a million atoms. The ball was so small it could be manipulated using lasers; light beams exert a force called radiation pressure.

With the ball held within a vacuum by a laser trap, the scientists were able to apply a twisting force through the light’s polarisation (orientation) as it passed through the ball. The vacuum eliminated air resistance so that scientists could look for evidence of quantum friction, a proposed force that slows spinning particles without external assistance.

The spinning sphere turned into a miniature gyroscope, stabilising itself. The ball cooled as it span to −233°C (−387°F, 40 Kelvin).

The research was carried out by Dr. Yoshihiki Arita, Dr. Michael Mazilu, and Professor Kishan Dholakia. Wikinews was able to ask Mazilu some questions about his research.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What first got you interested in researching quantum friction?

Michael Mazilu: The fundamental aspect that raised our interest is the mechanism that stops an object [rotating] infinitely fast in absence of friction. Quantum friction is one possible but debatable mechanism that will ultimately limit the rotation rate. One can also imagine other interesting mechanisms and we hope that future experiments will be able to conclusively distinguish between them.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Press coverage has focused on the fact this is the fastest spinning manmade object ever created, but the aim of the experiment was to research quantum physics. How did you end up with this unusual record — was it by accident?

MM: From the beginning we wanted to go for a very fast rotating sphere to test the limits of transfer of angular momentum of light. The motivation was to explore if we can see [if] any anomaly arose as we rotated the particle faster and faster. The hope was to develop an experimental platform that would allow testing the boundary between classical and quantum physics. That this worked better than expected was a happy accident.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How was the sphere manufactured, and how long did it take?

MM: The spheres are produced by mixing three chemical compounds together (CaCl2, MgSO4 and K2CO3) until the mixture becomes transparent. This happens in about 5 to 10 minutes and results in birefringent spherical vaterite crystals of 4.4 micrometer in diameter.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How long did the sphere take to reach 600 million revs per minute and break up?

MM: The whole process takes about 10–20 minutes. It all depends on how fast we evacuate the vacuum chamber. If we do it too fast we risk [losing] the micro-gyroscope from the trap. With regard to the sphere breaking up: This is a working hypothesis that we are not able to prove yet. What we observe is that the signal corresponding to the rotating sphere disappears at 600 million RPM. We need further measures to verify if the sphere breaks up or if its motion is perturbed and it escapes in some slingshot or other motion.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Could the high speeds attained be taken as evidence against quantum friction, as the sphere simply kept getting faster until it broke apart?

MM: This is a very interesting question. The particle keeps getting faster and faster until the signal disappears, however, just before this happens we observe that the slope of the acceleration changes. This could be seen as a signature of “quantum friction” but we need to look more closely. Alternatively, it might be a consequence of the sphere deforming at such high rotation rates.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The experiment failed to conclusively prove quantum friction, but did it provide any evidence to support the theory?

Spheres of vaterite manufactured for the experiment, viewed through a scanning electron microscope
Image: A. Di Falco.

MM: The main goal of the experiment was not to prove or disprove quantum friction but to develop a tool that might be useful to carry out these studies in the near future. Though the micro-gyroscope that we studied sounds like a simple system its behaviour and interaction with the laser beam is very complex. In order to use this experiment to prove or disprove quantum friction it is first necessary to completely understand and model its complex behaviour. We need therefore more extensive experimental studies and more precise simulations.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How challenging is research of this sort? What kind of difficulties are encountered?

MM: One of the challenges in this experiment is that it brings together many different parts of physics such as vacuum science, optical micro-manipulation, thermodynamics and potentially quantum mechanics. The main difficulty experimentally and theoretically is to combine all these fields simultaneously and make them work together to create a “clean” system that can test ‘friction’ or other theories.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Previous research on the boundary between conventional and quantum physics has used atoms and individual molecules. Why was a sphere in excess of a million atoms appropriate for this experiment? Would that not move further away, rather than closer to, the boundary between the two?

MM: Quantum physics should not just be the remit of the world of atoms or molecules but should apply at all scales in some way. One of the main drives in present quantum technology is to create what is called mesoscopic or macroscopic quantum states, that is quantum states that can be see in a microscope. It is in the hope to achieve this that we chose to work with the micrometer sized vaterite crystals. The other reason for the size of the sphere is that we experimentally found that smaller spheres are presently more difficult to levitate.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How likely is this result to be an anomaly? Might a similar ball break up more quickly, or be unable to spin as fast?

MM: With respect to the sphere break-up, these are interesting questions. One can expect that, depending on the mechanical failure property of the sphere, it would breakup sooner or later. Optically, we can make the sphere rotate at any speeds smaller than the maximum speed. So it would be very interesting to fabricate a series of spheres that have same optical properties but different mechanical failure points.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where would you like to see the research go next? More spheres?

MM: Indeed, two or more spheres would bring an additional degree of freedom to the experiments that would allow the study of the rotation rate as a function of the distance between them. Some theoretical predictions suggest that quantum friction effects might be enhanced in this case.

File photo of the buildings housing the maths (near building) and physics and astronomy (far building) schools within the university.
Image: Jim Bain.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png If confirmed, what applications might quantum friction have?

MM: It is relatively easy to dream up applications for an effect that has not been observed yet! In general, friction dissipates energy and is seen as a detrimental effect. However, there are applications that use friction in a useful way. Indeed, velocity dependent friction could also be used to slow down microscopic objects to the point where these objects would reach what is called the quantum ground state for their centre of mass. Creating these states on demand would bring quantum technology a step closer and might lead us to “couple” quantum mechanically [macroscopic] objects — a phenomenon more accurately termed entanglement.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png One follow-up question for publication: You said you found smaller spheres more difficult to levitate. Why is that?

MM: I have double checked the sphere size problem. While it might be more difficult to use smaller sphere in the experiment due to the trapping geometry, as it turns out this was a sphere synthesis problem. With our present method we were not able [to synthesise] smaller spheres.



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February 6, 2013

Record size 17.4 million-digit prime found

Record size 17.4 million-digit prime found

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Curtis Cooper, a mathematician and computer science professor at the University of Central Missouri, has discovered the largest known prime number to date on January 25. Several people verified the discovery using different hardware and software by the beginning of February and it was announced on Tuesday. Cooper found the prime as a participant in the distributed computing project known as the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, or GIMPS. Cooper runs the GIMPS client, called Prime95, on an estimated 1,000 computers at the university.

Curtis Cooper.

The number was first reported to the GIMPS server on January 25 from a university computer which had been running 39 days non-stop. However as for any Mersenne prime candidates, the discovery was announced after several people have verified the number using different hardware and software. The three independent verifications took from three to seven days of computation on powerful hardware.

A prime number is a positive integer greater than 1 that can only be evenly divided by 1 and itself. The first few prime numbers are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17 and 19. 77 (for example) is not prime because it is a product of 7 and 11. The newly discovered prime is expressed as 257,885,161 − 1 and has 17,425,170 digits. It is a specific type of prime number called a Mersenne prime, which are of the form 2p − 1. The exponent p must be prime for the number to be prime. As of February 2013, there are only 48 known Mersenne primes.

George Woltman developed and founded GIMPS, the longest known continuously running computer project, in 1996. Cooper as a participant had previously discovered two other Mersenne primes, 230,402,457 − 1 in December 2005 and 232,582,657 − 1 in September 2006, with fellow professor Steven Boone. This latest discovery ends an intermission of almost four years; the previous Mersenne prime was found in April 2009.



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April 24, 2011

Sherpa mountaineer Nawang Gombu, first to summit Mount Everest twice, dies

Sherpa mountaineer Nawang Gombu, first to summit Mount Everest twice, dies

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mount Everest
Image: Pavel Novak.

Sherpa mountaineer Nawang Gombu, 79, the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest twice, died Sunday morning at his home in Darjeeling, India, located at the base of the Himalayas, his family reported.

Gombu was born in Tibet but later moved with his family to a small village in Nepal near Mount Everest.

When he was about 21, Gombu reached the South Col as the youngest member of Sir Edmund Hilary‘s team in 1953. On that expedition, Hilary and Tenzing Norgay, Gombu’s uncle, were the first to successfully scale Mount Everest.

Cquote1.svg He was not only an outstanding climber, Gombu was a fine person who guided Indian mountaineering to a greater height. Cquote2.svg

—Mohan Singh Kohli, leader of the 1965 Indian Everest expedition

Gombu set another record as the first person to reach the mountain’s summit twice, first in 1963 with Jim Whittaker on an American expedition and again in 1965 with Captain Awarae Singh Cheema on an Indian expedition.

He scaled many other Himalayan peaks including Makalu, Nanda Devi and Cho Oyu, and is credited with discovering several new mountain routes.

Gombu was one of the “Tigers of the Snow”, Sherpa mountain climbers who brought recognition to their their ethnic community in the mountains of Tibet and Nepal.

He was important in the formation of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), along with other Sherpas. The creation of the Institute was supported by Nehru. Gombu served as Director of Field Training there after Norgay retired from the role, eventually retiring from HMI himself after more than forty years of work for the Institute.

“He was not only an outstanding climber, Gombu was a fine person who guided Indian mountaineering to a greater height,” said Mohan Singh Kohli, a retired Navy captain and leader of the 1965 Indian expedition. “Gombu’s death left a big void in the adventure field of the country.”

For his work, Gombu received many awards, including medals from Queen Elizabeth II and the National Geographic Society, and was invited to the White House by President Kennedy.



Related news

California teen becomes youngest to conquer Everest” — Wikinews, May 24, 2010

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September 18, 2010

Continental and United Airlines shareholders approve merger

Continental and United Airlines shareholders approve merger

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

The new United’s airplanes will use the old Continental color scheme.
Image: nothanks .

United Airlines and Continental Airlines shareholders yesterday approved a US$3.2 billion merger that would create the world’s largest airline. 98% of shareholders approved of the deal.

In the deal, United stockholders will hold 55% of the company, while Continental stockholders will get 1.05 new shares for each Continental share and will hold the remaining 45% of the company. The deal was earlier approved by United States antitrust regulators. The new company, which keeps United’s name but Continental’s globe logo, has little overlap in its route network, and will be headed by Continental CEO Jeff Smisek.

The new company surpasses rival Delta Air Lines, which merged only a year ago, to become the world’s largest.

The airlines expect to complete the merger by October 1 of this year, and customers can expect to see major changes in spring 2011, when the new United will rebrand their kiosks, worker uniforms and airplanes. The new company is calling the day when they rebrand “Customer Day One”.

“Our stockholders recognized the value of bringing together Continental and United to create a platform for increased profitability and sustainable, long-term growth,” Smisek announced after the merger.

Some analysts agree. “No further obstacles to the merger are likely at this point,” Jim Corridore, Standard & Poor‘s equity analyst, said to investors. Corridore also said that “we are positive on the planned merger, which we think creates an extremely strong global route network with opportunities for cost and revenue synergies.”

Other people were less positive about the merger. Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com, said that “losing a major competitor is likely to make prices rise — all things equal on the economy and fuel prices.” Also, a lawsuit in California accusing the merger of monopolizing the market and raising fares has been filed by lawyer Joseph Alioto, who claims that he represents consumers. United and Continental have defended themselves against accusations of monopolizing the airline industry by stating that they compete with low-cost carriers such as Southwest Airlines on three quarters of their US network. The airlines have also said that the low overlap and the low-cost competition will bring fares to heel.



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  • “Continental and United Airlines to merge” — Wikinews, May 4, 2010

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August 14, 2010

Manmohan Singh becomes the third longest serving Prime Minister of India

Filed under: Archived,Asia,India,Politics and conflicts,World records — admin @ 5:00 am

Manmohan Singh becomes the third longest serving Prime Minister of India

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

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Manmohan Singh, the current Prime Minister of India.
Image: Ricardo Stuckert.

Manmohan Singh, the 14th and current Prime Minister of India, reached 2,273 days in office on Wednesday. He has emerged to become the third longest serving Prime Minister of India, replacing his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“There are no special celebrations for the day. The prime minister is following his routine schedule,” said an official in the Prime Minister’s office (PMO). “The main functions he celebrates related to his office are the anniversaries of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. They are all well publicised functions attended by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other leaders,” the official added.

Singh’s predecessor, Vajpayee, served as the Prime Minister for 13 days in 1996 and 2,256 days between the years 1998 and 2004. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, leads the list with 6,130 days in the office, and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, stands second with 5,829 days.



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June 12, 2010

Rescue underway for teen solo sailor

Rescue underway for teen solo sailor – Wikinews, the free news source

Rescue underway for teen solo sailor

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

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A map showing Abby Sunderland’s route

A rescue operation is underway after sixteen-year-old American Abby Sunderland, attempting to sail around the world by herself, lost contact with her family while in the Indian Ocean.

Sunderland, from Thousand Oaks, California, had originally hoped to become the youngest person to sail around the world nonstop by herself. She departed from Marina del Rey, California on January 23, 2010 and was about halfway through the attempt when Sunderland’s family lost communication with her Thursday morning. That night, an Australian plane was able to locate her 40-foot (12.2-metre) long boat, Wild Eyes, which had lost its mast earlier.

Sunderland had been sailing amid a rough storm in the Indian Ocean early Thursday when her boat was flipped over. The mast broke off as a consequence. After losing contact, the teenager activated two manual distress radiobeacons, or EPIRBs, and a search-and-rescue operation was formed. As part of the operation, a Qantas Airways Airbus A330 was sent over the ocean by Australian authorities. The plane’s crew was able to make radio contact with Sunderland, and confirmed that she was not injured and that her boat was upright, but was unable to continue sailing. The closest rescue boat, a French fishing ship, was about 24 hours away from Sunderland’s location when she was found, and is expected to meet her later today. She was stranded about 2000 miles (3218.7 kilometres) southwest of Australia’s coast.

This is not Sunderland’s first obstacle during the journey. Near the beginning of the voyage, she made a stop at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, after the boat’s generators were not producing enough power. She resumed the attempt in February, but autopilot problems forced another stop at Cape Town, South Africa for repairs in April, and she had to give up going for the unassisted record.

Sunderland’s parents, Laurence and Marianne, have vigorously defended against claims that their daughter was too young to be attempting such a feat. They have also been criticized for allowing her to depart the United States at the beginning of the year, because Sunderland would likely arrive in the Indian Ocean during the region’s winter. Marianne Sunderland has said that Abby would likely not try “something of this magnitude again.” Last year, her brother Zac had completed a circumnavigation when he sailed solo around the world at the age of seventeen. She had begun preparing for this journey at the age of thirteen.



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May 28, 2010

Experimental aircraft breaks record for hypersonic flight

Experimental aircraft breaks record for hypersonic flight

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Friday, May 28, 2010

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An artist’s rendition of the Boeing X-51A Waverider

The experimental Boeing X-51A Waverider scramjet managed to break a hypersonic flight record Wednesday during a test flight.

The United States Air Force (USAF) said that the scramjet was able to fly for 200 seconds, achieving a top speed of around Mach 5 and setting a new record for what the Air Force called “the longest supersonic combustion ramjet-powered hypersonic flight.” The previous record of twelve seconds was set by the NASA X-43 in 2004. This hypersonic flight, also the first to use hydrocarbon fuel, was hailed by US government officials as a success. Despite an unknown failure which caused the X-51 to lose acceleration, an X-51 program manager said that the USAF was “ecstatic” about the event’s accomplishments.

The X-51 is 14 feet (4.2 metres) long and has no real wings, allowing it to withstand the shock wave created during flight. The aircraft launched around 10 a.m. PDT (1700 UTC) from Edwards Air Force Base in California. It was carried by a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress to a height of 50,000 feet (15,240 metres) and then released over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range. The X-51 was then propelled by a solid rocket booster to Mach 4.8.

After about 200 seconds in flight, Boeing said that “something then occurred that caused the vehicle to lose acceleration. At that point, the X-51A was terminated as planned.” Although it was expected to fly for about 300 seconds and reach Mach 6, the scramjet only managed Mach 5 at a height of about 70,000 feet (21,336 metres), possibly due to an engine blowout. The aircraft landed in the ocean as planned, and there are no plans to retrieve it.

This test is the first of four planned flights for the X-51 program, with the other three planned for this coming fall. Previously, the X-51 had flown twice, but was attached to the B-52 both times.



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May 24, 2010

California teen becomes youngest to conquer Everest

California teen becomes youngest to conquer Everest

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Monday, May 24, 2010

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Mount Everest

Jordan Romero, a thirteen-year-old alpinist from Big Bear Lake, California, is the youngest person to have summited Mount Everest, according to reports circulated by the Associated Press quoting a spokesman based in the United States. The expedition included the boy’s father, stepmother, and three Sherpa guides.

Romero ascended 8,850 metres (29,035 feet) breaking the record for the youngest climber on Everest previously set by 16 year old Temba Tsheri from Nepal. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do before I die — I just happen to be doing it at this age. I happen to be going for a world record. But I just want to climb it,” Jordan told AFP reporters before embarking on the trek. On the same day, mountaineer Apa Sherpa, from Nepal, scaled Everest for the 20th time breaking a personal record.

It is anticipated that additional information will become available once the summit team returns to camp on the Tibet side of the mountain.



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April 1, 2010

Large Hadron Collider reaches milestone

Large Hadron Collider reaches milestone – Wikinews, the free news source

Large Hadron Collider reaches milestone

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

A simulated event in the CMS detector
Image: CMS Media.

The Large Hadron Collider—the world’s largest science experiment—shattered records Tuesday by successfully colliding particle beams at a combined energy of 7 teraelectronvolts (TeV). This marks a milestone in the collider’s progress, and will usher in the beginning of up to two years of intensive investigations.

In just a few hours, detectors along the LHC’s 17-mile tube recorded 500,000 collision events. Two beams of protons were sent in opposite directions, each with an energy of 3.5 TeV, guided by thousands of large electromagnets.

Guido Tonelli, a spokesman for one of the detectors, said “Major discoveries will happen only when we are able to collect billions of events and identify among them the very rare events that could present a new state of matter or new particles.”

The LHC will eventually shut down for about a year to prepare for 14-TeV collisions. Scientists will ultimately sift through information on billions of collision events, in hope that the results will lead to a “new era in science”.



Related news

  • “Large Hadron Collider restarted” — Wikinews, November 21, 2009
  • “Large particle accelerators to explore the frontiers of physics” — Wikinews, September 16, 2008

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