At the annual statutory meeting of the Royal Society of Edinburgh on Monday 1 October, Professor Higgs FRS FRSE was awarded a specially-commissioned medal in recognition of his outstanding work that led to the recent announcement by scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN of the discovery of a Higgs-like particle.
Professor Higgs, based at the University of Edinburgh from 1960 until his retirement in 1996, has had an enormous impact on the world of physics. In 1964 he proposed a mechanism through which the fundamental particles, the building blocks of all matter, attain their mass, predicting the existence of the ‘Higgs field’ and consequently of a particle with particular properties and behaviours that underpins the physical fabric of the Universe together: the Higgs boson.
Findings of the international team of scientists at CERN, announced in July 2012, have now confirmed the discovery of a previously unknown boson whose behaviour so far has been consistent with a Higgs boson.
Professor Norman McCubbin, former Director Particle Physics at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire and a current member of the STFC group on the ATLAS experiment, said, “The recent discovery at the CERN Large Hadron Collider of a Higgs-like particle marks both the culmination of a search initiated by Professor Higgs’ work of almost 50 years ago and the start of exploration of a new landscape in particle physics. In this year of experimental confirmation of his ideas, it is a particular pleasure to note this latest recognition of Professor Higgs’ seminal contribution to our understanding by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.”
The STFC pays the UK contribution to the CERN budget as well as supporting UK participation in the four LHC experimental detector projects, including the Higgs boson detectors ATLAS and CMS.