For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Newcastle scientist Peter Higgs wins Nobel prize
NORTH-East born scientist Peter Higgs has won the Nobel physics prize for his work on the Higgs boson.
He shares the prize with colleague Francois Englert.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the two scientists for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles.
The physics prize announcement was delayed by one hour, which is highly unusual. The academy gave no immediate reason, other than saying on Twitter that it was still in session at the original announcement time.
The academy decides the winners in a majority vote on the day of the announcement.
Newcastle-born Professor Higgs, 83, gave his name to the Higgs boson, which scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - the £2.6bn Big Bang atom-smasher near Geneva, Switzerland - believe they discovered in July, having hit on the concept in the 1960s.
The quiet physicist, now retired from the University of Edinburgh, has become a global celebrity as creator of the theory behind the 'God particle'.
Prof Higgs, 83, wrote two scientific papers - the second of which was initially rejected and then finally published in the respected journal Physical Review Letters.
Prof Higgs' groundbreaking proposal was that particles acquire mass by interacting with an all-pervading field spread throughout the universe. The more they interact, the more massive and heavy they become.
A ''boson'' particle was needed to carry and transmit the effect of the field - the Higgs boson.
Dr Frances Saunders, president of the Institute of Physics, said: "The work undertaken to discover the Higgs - from the original theories to the construction of the worlds most powerful particle-smasher - has led to a very exciting and productive period in physics research. It has been a long journey but one that has inspired a generation to engage with the subject.
"With the existence of the Higgs boson confirmed, explaining why the fundamental building blocks of nature acquire mass, we can now move on to the next challenges to our understanding such as the phenomena of dark matter and quantum gravity."
Professor Michael Duff, chair of theoretical physics at Imperial College London, said the Higgs boson theory will remain part of human understanding for centuries.
He said: "I am delighted to hear that Peter Higgs and Francois Englert have won this year's Nobel Prize for Physics, which is richly deserved. Their seminal contributions, along with those of Tom Kibble here at Imperial College, explaining how elementary particles acquire a mass, form a vital part of the Standard Model of particle physics, pioneered by Imperial Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam.
"Their ideas in theoretical physics, vindicated in 2012 by the discovery at Cern of the Higgs boson, will persist as part of human understanding of the physical universe for centuries to come, long after today's stars of politics, business and entertainment have been forgotten."
Comments are closed on this article.