An idea thought up on a rainy weekend

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As an atheist with no desire to upset believers, Professor Peter Higgs has always hated the idea of a God particle. He has never been keen on the nomenclature of the Higgs boson either – referring to it as “the particle named after me” on the rare occasions he gives an interview.

But although his name will forever be attached to one of modern science’s most profound discoveries – and he is a racing certainty for a future Nobel Prize – the 83-year-old University of Edinburgh academic remains little known outside his esoteric discipline.

The idea of the particle field was conceived on one rainy Scottish weekend in 1964 when a camping trip to the Western Highlands was washed out. Inspired by the work of fellow Cotham Grammar school boy Paul Dirac, Professor Higgs had eschewed the prospect of Oxbridge to study theoretical physics at King’s College London.

But though considered brilliant by his tutors, the Newcastle-born son of a BBC sound engineer failed to secure a lectureship there and headed north. Yet his reputation for laboratory “accidents” meant some doubted he had a future as a serious researcher at all.

Written By: Jonathan Brown
continue to source article at independent.co.uk

8 COMMENTS

  1. ”  Professor Higgs has been a strong opponent of nuclear weapons, although
    he resigned from the CND when it opposed civil nuclear energy. He is
    also an environmentalist and keen hillwalker who quit Greenpeace over
    its rejection of genetically modified food “

    As a scientist would, Nobel prize or not.

  2. But though considered brilliant by his tutors, the Newcastle-born son of a BBC sound engineer failed to secure a lectureship there and headed north. Yet his reputation for laboratory “accidents” meant some doubted he had a future as a serious researcher at all. 

    Ah, the power of random chance.

  3. I don’t think you can be a member of CND or Greenpeace; I don’t believe they’re membership based organizations, you just subscribe to, and support them.
     
    Notwithstanding that, I aplaud his reasons for ceasing to contribute to them and argue on their behalf; I’m of like opinion.
     
    The GM argument is “nutty”, in light of the work carried out by Norman Borlaug, and we’ve painted ourselves into the corner with regard to nuclear power, by being so environmentally profligate.

     

  4.  

    As an atheist with no desire to upset believers,
    Professor Peter Higgs has always hated the idea of a God particle. He
    has never been keen on the nomenclature of the Higgs boson either –
    referring to it as “the particle named after me” on the rare occasions
    he gives an interview.

    Gap-ologists will try to fit gods into any scientific frontier! – It’s so much easier for the brain-lazy, than trying to understand the science!

  5. Judging by the amount of rain, we in Britain, have had over the last 3 months, there should be many more potential Nobel Prize winning ideas out there. Well apart from worrying where the next footstep will be placed, you have to think about something whilst hill walking in Scotland.

    Well done to Peter Higgs!

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