Peter Higgs receives Copley Medal

Date: July 27, 2015

Large Hadron Collider particle physics

Peter Higgs receives world’s oldest scientific prize

Nobel prize winner Peter Higgs has joined the ranks of Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein by winning the world’s oldest scientific prize, the Royal Society’s Copley Medal, for his pioneering work on the theory of the Higgs boson, which was discovered in 2012.

86-year-old Higgs received the Copley Medal for his fundamental contribution to particle physics with his theory explaining the origin of mass in elementary particles, confirmed by the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider.

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According to the concepts of modern physics, matter is composed of a group of particles and that between them are forces that are manipulated by another set of particles. The principal property that most of these elementary particles exhibit is the possession of a mass.

In 1964, Higgs, now 86, came up with a theory that could explain the origin of mass in the particles. He was then at Edinburgh University when he invented the boson theory, which theorizes that the mass of the particles came from its interaction with a field that is diffused in the entire universe. The search for the seemingly elusive "boson" particle that is necessary to transfer the effect of that widespread field took 40 years. In 2012, the pinnacle of Higgs' success was finally reached when the scientific experts at the Large Hadron Collider at the Cern laboratory near Geneva discovered the said particle, which is now named after him.

Two other scientists by the name of François Englert and Robert Brout also came up with the same theory at almost the time but separately. Both Higgs and Englert were jointly given the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013.