Royal Society has special honour for Higgs

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Peter Higgs, the retired Edinburgh professor whose work has changed physics, has received a special honour from Scotland’s national academy, the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

At the annual meeting of the society, fellow Prof Higgs was awarded a specially-commissioned medal in recognition of his work that led to the recent announcement by scientists in Switzerland that his theories about the building blocks of the universe, developed in 1964, may have been proved.

Prof 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 theory through which the fundamental particles of the universe may attain their mass, predicting the existence of a particle that became known as the Higgs “boson”.

Findings of the team of scientists at the underground CERN facility, announced in July, have now confirmed the discovery of a boson whose behaviour so far has been consistent with that a Higgs boson.

Professor Sir John Arbuthnott, president of the Royal Society, said: “Professor Higgs’ theoretical work has long been recognised as a crucial step towards a unified theory of the forces of nature.”