On Tuesday in Stockholm the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Peter Higgs and François Englert for their independently derived theory from 1964 explaining the existence of mass in the Universe which also predicts the existence of the Higgs boson in the Standard Model of particle physics.
Without the existence of the Higgs boson, also jokingly known as “the God Particle” due to its key and fundamental role in the Universe, the Standard Model would have to be rewritten.
The press release from the Academy stated that the prize was awarded “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.”
At the time Englert was working with fellow theoretical physicist Robert Brout who passed away in 2011. Nobel prizes are not awarded posthumously.
Initial observational confirmation of a particle matching the characteristics of the Higgs boson was announced on July 4, 2012 by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research; further analysis of data solidified confidence that the particle discovered was indeed the long-sought-after Higgs boson.
The elusive particle’s discovery required the Large Hadron Collider: a 16.2 mile-long particle accelerator with an extremely high level of energy and with the capability of producing trillions of proton collisions. In addition, thousands of scientists comprised the teams in the search for the particle.
Dr. Peter Higgs is Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.
Dr. François Englert is Professor Emeritus at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium.
On Monday three research scientists, James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Südhof, were awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their roles in unmasking the method by which cells bundle and transport materials needed at the exact time needed.
The Nobel Prizes in chemistry, literature and economics will be announced on Wednesday, Thursday, and Monday, respectively. The Nobel Peace Prize winner will be announced on Friday.
The prizes, except for the peace prize, will be awarded on Dec. 10, 2013 in Stockholm. The peace prize will be awarded on Dec. 10, 2013 in Oslo, Norway.
"The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics - Press Release". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 8 Oct 2013. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2013/press.html