Peter Higgs honored for discovery of Higgs Boson particle

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 29, 2012, 15:17 Updated : December 29, 2012, 15:17
Physicist Peter Higgs, after whom the Higgs boson particle is named, has been recognized in the New Year Honors. In the 1960s, Prof Higgs and other physicists proposed a mechanism to explain why the most basic building blocks of the Universe have mass. The mechanism predicts the existence of a Higgs particle, the discovery of which was claimed this year at the Large Hadron Collider.

Professor Higgs has been made a Companion of Honor. The recognition confers no title but is restricted to a select group of 65 for achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry, or religion.

His discovery announced in July this year of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson immediately led to calls for the 83-year-old to be knighted. He is now also considered to be a candidate for a Nobel prize, perhaps in conjunction with other physicists who reached similar conclusions at the same time.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Higgs was inspired at school by the work of physicist Paul Dirac, who helped lay the foundations of quantum mechanics and predicted the existence of antimatter.

According to one popular version of the story, Prof Higgs came up with the concept during a walk in the Cairngorms. However, in an interview earlier this year, he told BBC News that there was no “eureka moment”.

The Higgs mechanism explains why the building blocks known as elementary particles have mass. According to the idea, these particles acquire mass through their interaction with a field that permeates space.

The theory predicts the existence of a new particle, which also carries Higgs‘ name. However, six physicists - including Higgs - are generally credited with the formulation of the concept.

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