Francois Englert and Peter Higgs were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics on Tuesday for work that led to last year’s discovery of the Higgs boson.
However, their work actually began in 1964 with independent papers on the Higgs boson, which is considered evidence of a pervasive field called the Higgs field that endows other particles with mass, and is one of the mysterious attributes of physics, according to CNet. Watch the announcement here:
It has been a long, slow road in the confirmation of their theory. What began in 1964, and earnestly awaited the invention underground particle accelerator, called the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, has finally been proven this year beyond doubt.
In 2011, CERN said that a hint of the Higgs boson has been discovered, but stopped well short of declaring it to be verified. In 2012, the scientists declared the likelihood to be 99.99999%, then in 2013, increased that even more after gathering more data.
So who are these amazing scientists who have contributed such a bounty to the world of physics?
Peter Higgs, a UK citizen, was born in 1929 in Newcastle upon Tyne. He received his doctorate degree in 1954 from King’s College, University of London and is a professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom and apparently very shy, according to LiveScience. The Nobel committee apparently couldn’t reach Higgs to give him the big news.
“The rumor has it that he has gone into hiding for the rest of the week in anticipation,” said Olga Botner, a Nobel committee member, in a live webcast. “Since this prize was so anticipated he knew that in either case, if he gets it there will be a press storm, if he doesn’t get it there will be a press storm.”
Francois Englert, a Belgium citizen, was born in 1932 in Etterbeek, Belgium, and received his doctorate degree in 1959 from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, in Brussels, where he is now a professor emeritus.
Reportedly, Englert collaborated with another physicist, Robert Brout, on the original paper, but Brout has since died and therefore isn’t eligible for the Nobel Prize, worth about $1.25 million.
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