Peter Higgs to get Freedom of Edinburgh

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PETER HIGGS, the Capital-based scientist who predicted the existence of the “Higgs boson particle”, will be given the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh at a ceremony tomorrow.

The accolade, which is the highest honour the city can bestow, will recognise Higgs’ lifetime of work and his contribution to theoretical physics.

The 84-year-old Emeritus Professor of Theoretical ­Physics at the University of Edinburgh will join Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Sean Connery in the ranks of Freemen at a ­ceremony at the institution’s McEwan Hall.

Prof Higgs, who has lived in Edinburgh for more than 50 years, proposed a mechanism in the 1960s to explain why the most basic building blocks of the universe have mass. His achievement was recognised last year when he and colleague Professor Francois Englert of Université Libre de Bruxelles were jointly awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Prof Higgs will receive the rare accolade from the Lord Provost, the Right Honourable Donald Wilson, at a graduation ceremony during which both he and Mr Englert will receive honorary degrees.

He said: “I am extremely pleased to be offered the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh – the city I have grown to love.”