Patriotic Particles, Fuming Frenchmen

Bose: ‘forgotten’ physicist. Courtesy of Falguni Sarkar-S.N. Bose Project

Invisible Man

While most of the world was giddy with geeky joy over the discovery of the Higgs boson—or “God particle”—India reacted like a bride jilted at the altar. “Scientists from India seldom get their due,” sulked one headline in a Delhi daily, highlighting the fact that in all the celebration of Peter Higgs’s research, scant credit was accorded to Satyendra Nath Bose, a Bengali physicist who worked with Albert Einstein in the 1920s. “Boson famous, Bose remains forgotten,” huffed another Indian paper, explaining that “boson” is a technical term of Einstein’s invention, coined to describe the subatomic particle discovered by Bose—a scientist who, The Times of India said with a blast of astrophysicist jingoism, “towers over Higgs” in ability and achievement. Remarkably, the Indian government also chose to wade into the debate, issuing a brief press release: “The CERN experiment has once again brought focus on Satyendra Nath Bose. For India, God Particle is as much Boson as Higgs.”

Perfect Storm?

Here’s a recipe for a lively little donnybrook in the eastern Mediterranean: NATO has set up a patrol group of three frigates—one Turkish, one French, one German—to police the Syrian and Turkish coasts days after a Syrian projectile brought down a Turkish F-4E Phantom II that had briefly traversed Syrian airspace. At the same time, Russia has advanced plans to boost the defenses of its cherished naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus. Diplomatic worrywarts believe that this sets the stage for a Cold War–style naval confrontation, especially after reports—now emerging—that it was a Russian-made Pantsir surface-to-air missile that brought down the Turkish plane. Adding spice to the bubbling brew are additional reports, in The Sunday Times of London, that Russian personnel are stationed at Syrian missile battery centers, causing the edgy (and historically Russophobic) Turks to ask whether it was a Russian officer who shot down their plane.

Daddy Dearest

nell-diamond-nb20 Taking to Twitter to defend her father. Stephen Lovekin / UNICEF-Getty Images

Robert Diamond may have made an ignominious exit as CEO of Barclays after the bank admitted to widespread rigging of global interest rates, but his daughter, Nell, is fighting the good fight for her old man. “No one in the world I admire more than my dad,” she tweeted after his resignation, adding, “16 yrs building Barclays. Shame to see the mistakes of few tarnish the hard work of so many.” This filial defense, almost Victorian in its chasteness, followed minutes after an earlier tweet—swiftly deleted—that was rather less prim. Lashing out at the British chancellor of the exchequer and the leader of the opposition, both of whom had given her father a hard time, she wrote: “George Osborne and Ed Miliband you can go ahead and #hmd.” (HMD is an abbreviation for “Hold my d--k,” a coarse put-down in which the one who exhorts the holding expresses superiority over the one who is enjoined to hold.) For all her bumptiousness, the eye-catching, Princeton-educated 23-year-old is not without an ability to laugh at her pater’s plight, retweeting a message from another user that said, “Bob Diamond has been downgraded to Bob Diamante.”

Friendly Fire

francois-hollande-nb20 Hollande: let them drink coffee. Jean Francois Badias-pool / REA-Redux

When François Hollande pushed ahead with plans to raise the national minimum wage, he braced himself for a backlash from the right, always at the ready with accusations of wastefulness in a time of austerity. To his immense chagrin, however, the French president drew the most flak from his own side, the socialist left, with trade unions and workers’ syndicates scorning the 2 percent rise (amounting to nearly €22 a month) as much too miserly. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the hard-left politician who won 10 percent of the vote in the first round of the presidential election in April, reacted with undisguised derision. “This is a candy bar,” he said. “You can’t even buy a baguette every day, maybe two in a week. You can buy yourself a cup of coffee per week.” Staying with the alimentary theme, he concluded: “It turns my stomach to see this situation.”

With Luke Kerr-Dineen.

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