The Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 was awarded jointly to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs for their work on the theory of the Higgs boson.
Peter Higgs, from the UK, and François Englert from Belgium, shared the prize “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider”.
In the 1960s they were among several physicists who proposed a mechanism to explain why the most basic building blocks of the Universe have mass.
The mechanism predicts a particle – the Higgs boson – which was finally discovered in 2012 at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, in Switzerland.
“This year’s prize is about something small that makes all the difference,” said Staffan Normark, permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
FrançoisEnglert said he was “very happy” to win the award.
“At first I thought I didn’t have it [the prize] because I didn’t see the announcement,” he told the Nobel committee, after their news conference was delayed by more than an hour.
Prof. Peter Higgs, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “I am overwhelmed to receive this award and thank the Royal Swedish Academy.
“I would also like to congratulate all those who have contributed to the discovery of this new particle and to thank my family, friends and colleagues for their support.
“I hope this recognition of fundamental science will help raise awareness of the value of blue-sky research.”
CERN director general Rolf Heuer said he was “thrilled” that this year’s prize had gone to particle physics.
“The discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN last year, which validates the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism, marks the culmination of decades of intellectual effort by many people around the world,” he said.