otisaardvark writes: The 2007 Abel Prize for lifetime achievement in mathematics (approximately equal in prestige to a Nobel Prize) has been awarded to Srinivasa Varadhan of Courant University, New York. The recognition is largely due to his pioneering work in the theory of large deviations (roughly speaking, the science of trying to accurately calculate the probabilities of unlikely events occurring). More information is available in Varadhan's Abel biography and citation. After Wendelin Werner was also recognized last year for his work on 2D conformal field theories with a Fields medal, it seems that probability theory has finally acheived due recognition for its central importance in modern mathematics.
otisaardvark writes: The multibillion franc Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland will be the world's largest particle accelerator, aiming to find evidence of Higgs boson, supersymmetry and hopefully, completely new physics when it is switched on. However, a couple of days ago, during a crucial test, one of three giant magnets supplied by Fermilab (near Chicago) broke — probably because engineers failed to account for how the three would affect each other. Ominously, "at this point the consequences, if any, for the LHC schedule are not yet known.". More commentary from an insider's blog.