Learn all about the boson - from Professor Higgs himself

Students will be able to student cutting-edge particle physics for free under a new scheme

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The Independent Online

Edinburgh University is to offer a free online course on the so-called 'God Particle', featuring interviews with the man who first theorised its existence, Professor Peter Higgs.

The course, which lasts seven weeks, is called The Discovery of the Higgs boson, describes the scientific advancements that led to the building of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, and to the eventual, much-heralded detection of the boson itself.

It will also 'highlight the cross-fertilisation between theory and experiment in particle physics during the past 100 years'.

It is being offered as part of a new initiative by various British universities to produce online learning materials for free via the FutureLearn platform.

Professor Higgs, 84, first suggested that there could be a particular subatomic particle that would allow other particles to have mass in the early 1960s. He won't be teaching, but he has recorded several interviews that will form key parts of the course, which will also feature lectures and teaching from staff at Edinburgh University's Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics.

Professor Arthur Trew, head of Edinburgh's school of physics and astronomy, said he was 'very pleased' that Professor Higgs' work will reach a worldwide audience of learners.

"Peter’s research has provided us with profound insight into the building blocks of the Universe and this course will allow anyone with a computer and access to the web to take part in the exciting and revolutionary times that we live in," he said.

FutureLearn is a partnership of 23 leading universities, along with the British Museum, British Council and British Library, designed to deliver high quality courses known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) for free online to anyone who might be interested.

The existence of the Higgs boson was tentatively indicated in July 2012 by scientists working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The following March, CERN announced more data confirming even more strongly that they might have found a new particle showing properties of the Higgs boson.