Higgs boson, key to the universe, wins Nobel physics prize

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 Britain's Peter Higgs and Francois Englert of Belgium won the Nobel Prize for physics on Tuesday for predicting the existence of the Higgs boson particle that explains how elementary matter attained the mass to form stars and planets.

The insight has been hailed as one of the most important in the understanding of the cosmos. Without the Higgs mechanism all particles would travel at the speed of light and atoms would not exist.

Half a century after the scientists' original prediction, the new building block of nature was finally detected in 2012 at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) centre's giant, underground particle-smasher near Geneva.

"I am overwhelmed to receive this award," said Higgs, who is known to shun the limelight and did not appear in public on Tuesday despite winning the world's top science prize.

 

Written By: Simon Johnson and Johan Ahlander
continue to source article at reuters.com

13 COMMENTS

  1. “Half a century after the scientists’ original prediction, the new building block of nature was finally detected in 2012″

    Incredible ! The powerful predicting capability of science.Beats any of the “prophecies” of the good book.
    Congratulations to them!!

    • A common error in articles such as these is to claim that without Higgs there would be no mass. Electrons would be massless, but not protons or neutrons, as most of their mass is due to the binding energy between constituent quarks. Without Higgs, nuclei would exist but electrons couldn’t orbit them properly.

      In reply to #8 by Roedy:

      How could a particle so hard to detect have such a fundamental function in the universe?

      Its fundamental function comes from the fact that the strength of the Higgs field which minimises the vacuum energy is nonzero, and it induces masses in proportion to this, so particles gain mass; and, however small this mass is, it traps them under light speed. Higgs is hard to detect because the way we detect it is by waiting for it to form$ and emit visible particles, but several factors suppress the probability of it doing so. ($ And by “form” I mean with the right energy and momentum to be detectable experimentally, and Higgs generally isn’t like that, because it’s a boson mediating an effect. So that’s a further suppression.) Indeed, only at high energies is it even possible to observe it.

  2. Well done to the Laureates !

    To my simple mind, the Higgs Field is as mysterious as a gravitational field. But I’m missing out, – I can’t do the maths !

    Not entirely mathless, – I travel at less than the speed of light.

  3. A Conspiacy Theorist of my acquaintance took the term “god particle’ literally and thought that it’s presence had been hushed up very quickly by the atheists in our midst! Such a level of ignorance is astounding in the 21century.

    Anyway, congrats to Higgs and Englert.

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