When last year two experiments at CERN, CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) and ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus), announced the preliminary results of their research confirming the existence of the Higgs boson, everybody started expecting Peter Higgs to receive the Nobel Prize for physics. Today came the official announcement of the award to him and François Englert, the other physicist who in the ’60s published an independent work that led to very similar conclusions.
Peter Ware Higgs was born on May 29, 1929 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. His work, now well-known and considered crucial in the field of physics, initially wasn’t taken seriously. Higgs is 84 years old now but can finally crown the work of a career with the Nobel Prize. Obviously, he’ll be remembered anyway due to the fact that the particle that was given his name was theorized by him.
François Englert was born on November 6, 1932 in Etterbeek, Belgium. During his career he has already received prestigious awards for his research such as the First Prize in the International Gravity Contest in 1978, the Franqui Prize in 1982, the High frequency energy and particle physics Prize in 1997, the Wolf Prize in physics in 2004, the J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics in 2010. Inevitably, the Nobel Prize for physics is considered the most important of all.
In all this we mustn’t forget the contribution of Robert Brout, the other Belgian physicist who wrote the original research with François Englert. For the Nobel Prize rules only living people can receive that award and unfortunately Brout died in 2011. Of course he deserved to share the Nobel Prize with his colleagues.
In addition, during these decades many physicists but also all the other people who participated in the research at CERN and in other parts of the world have contributed to this discovery. However, it’s inevitable that the scientists who had the merit of proposing a theory which at the time seemed even absurd are the ones who received the prize.
Maybe last year it was too early to award the Nobel Prize for physics to Peter Higgs and François Englert. After all the CERN results were only preliminary. This year, however, confirmations came of the discovery of the Higgs boson so this year the award was almost taken for granted.
The work to get to this point has been long but is only a stage in the discovery of the ultimate secrets of the cosmos. To move forward we need other scientists of the value of Peter Higgs and François Englert.