Page 3 Profile: Peter Higgs, theoretical physicist


Katie Grant@kt_grant
Monday 17 February 2014 01:00
Peter Higgs, theoretical physicist
Peter Higgs, theoretical physicist

Isn’t he important?

Professor Peter Higgs was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics along with fellow theoretical physicist François Englert last year for their work on the Higgs boson.

What’s that?

It’s an elementary particle that is part of the Standard Model of quantum physics. Prof Higgs, 84, predicted the existence of the so-called “God particle” in 1964. In 2012 scientists at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research announced the discovery of a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson. It is widely regarded as the most significant theory in particle physics.

I’m not sure what all that means but it sounds like a big deal…

Easy on the fanfare. Prof Higgs, who was born in Newcastle and lives in Edinburgh, has said that his new-found celebrity status has proved to be rather annoying.

He isn’t basking in the glory?

Asked how he felt about being stopped in the street and asked for his autograph, he said in the first episode of The Life Scientific, which is being broadcast on Radio 4 tomorrow: “It’s a bit of a nuisance.”.

So does he regret devoting his life to physics?

It seems to have taken its toll on him: “The discovery has led to a disturbance of my lifestyle,” he said.

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