2 win physics
Nobel for Higgs
Nearly 50 years after they came up with the theory, but little more than a year since the world’s biggest atom smasher delivered the proof, Britain’s Peter Higgs and Belgian colleague Francois Englert won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for helping to explain how matter formed after the Big Bang.
Working independently in the 1960s, they came up with a theory for how the fundamental building blocks of the universe clumped together, gained mass and formed everything we see around us today. The theory hinged on the existence of a subatomic particle that came to be called the Higgs boson — or the “God particle.”
School bus strike
A surprise strike by Boston school bus drivers stranded thousands of students Tuesday, forcing some to hitch rides with cops, harried parents and even a police superintendent, while others just stayed home.
Most of the city district’s 700 bus drivers suddenly went idle amid a dispute with the contractor that employs them, stranding some 33,000 students, according to district officials.
Schools spokesman Lee McGuire said the walkout was prompted, in part, by the union’s opposition to a GPS system that allows parents to track buses online in real time.
An outraged Mayor Tom Menino called the bus drivers “angry people who don’t like to follow the rules.” He called the strike illegal and said he would pursue every possible legal avenue to force drivers back to work.
Family: Man on
fire mentally ill
The death of a New Jersey man who set himself on fire on the National Mall was the result of his long fight with mental illness, not a political statement, his family said.
John Constantino, 64, of Mount Laurel, N.J., poured the contents of a canister of gasoline on himself in the center portion of the mall Friday afternoon, police said. He then set himself ablaze, with passing joggers taking off their shirts to help put out the flames.
Police had said Constantino conscious and breathing at the scene, but he died later that night at a Washington hospital.
“John Constantino was a loving father and husband. His death was not a political act or statement, but the result of his long battle with mental illness,” his family said in a statement issued through attorney Jeffrey Cox.
The statement did not address the nature of the mental illness.
Sources say cop
hit SUV driver
An off-duty, undercover police detective on a motorcycle was seen on video hitting and kicking an SUV when a biker rally spiraled into violence, two people familiar with the case said Tuesday.
Although his lawyer said Monday that the detective had only witnessed other bikers attacking the vehicle, investigators have video evidence they believe shows him participating in the melee, according to the two people. One said the footage shows him punching an already damaged back window, then twice kicking the side of the SUV before leaving the scene — an alleged outburst that could result in his arrest.
The people were not authorized to discuss the inquiry and spoke on condition of anonymity.