"In this image from December 2008, the STS-122 mission crew members stride out of the Operations and Checkout Building, eager to ride to the launch pad and take their seats in space shuttle Atlantis. On the left, front to back, are Alan Poindexter, followed by Leland Melvin, Stanley Love and Leopold Eyharts. On the right, front to back, are Commander Steve Frick, followed by Rex Walheim and Hans Schlegel. Schlegel and Eyharts represent the European Space Agency.
Poindexter died on Sunday, July 1, 2012, while vacationing with his family.
A Navy Captain, he was accepted to the Astronaut Corps in 1998. During his career with NASA, Poindexter commanded the STS-131 space shuttle Discovery mission to the International Space Station in 2010, delivering more than 13,000 pounds of hardware and equipment. He also served as the pilot of the STS-122 mission, which delivered and installed the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory on the station in 2008. He also served as a spacecraft communicator, or CAPCOM, for multiple missions.
Poindexter retired from NASA in 2010 and returned to serve in the United States Navy as Dean of Students at the Naval Postgraduate School."Source: NASA
The following is a republished excerpt from a story that ran on CNN.com on December 14, 2011.
What is the Higgs boson?
The Standard Model of particle physics lays out the basics of how elementary particles and forces interact in the universe. But the theory crucially fails to explain how particles actually get their mass.
Particles, or bits of matter, range in size and can be larger or smaller than atoms. Electrons, protons and neutrons, for instance, are the subatomic particles that make up an atom.
At the start of a big week for the Higgs boson, the most sought-after particle in all of physics, scientists in Illinois said Monday that they had crept closer to proving that the particle exists but had been unable to reach a definitive conclusion.
The scientists outlined their final analysis based on more than 10 years of research and 500 trillion particle collisions using the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermilab Tevatron collider near Batavia, Illinois, whose budgetary woes shut it down last year.
Their announcement came two days before researchers at the Large Hadron Collider under the Alps are due to unveil their latest results at an eagerly awaited seminar at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.