Nobel Prize-winning scientist Professor Peter Higgs has revealed he first heard he won the prestigious award when a women stopped to congratulate him in the street.
Prof Higgs said a former neighbour, the widow of a judge, got out of her car in Edinburgh as he was returning from lunch and introduced herself.
“She congratulated me on the news and I said ‘oh, what news?” he told a press conference at the University of Edinburgh.
“She told me her daughter phoned from London to alert her to the fact I had got this prize.
“I heard more about it obviously when I got home and started reading the messages.”
Prof Higgs was recognised by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his work on the theory of the particle which shares his name, the Higgs boson.
The existence of the so-called ‘’God particle’’, said to give matter its substance, or mass, was proved 50 years on by a team from the European nuclear research facility (Cern) in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2012.
Giving his reaction to the prize for the first time, he said: “How do I feel? Well, obviously I’m delighted and rather relieved in a sense that it’s all over. It’s been a long time coming.”
An old friend told him he had been nominated as far back as 1980, he explained.