Friday, May 24, 2024

Peter Higgs, scientist who discovered the ‘god particle’, dies at 94

Peter Higgs, the scientists who discovered the particle that bore his name, has died at 94.

Higgs won a Nobel prize and a host of other plaudits for his work on the Higgs boson, showing how it gave the universe its shape. The hunt to prove the existence of the particle became one of science’s greatest projects – and was found, in 2012, using the Large Hadron Collider.

The search was such that the Higgs boson was also name the “God particle”, though many scientists rejected the name. Higgs himself disdained the celebrity that its discovery brought, telling the BBC that it was “a bit of a nuisance”.

Higgs died at home in Edinburgh on Monday, the University of Edinburgh said.

“He died on Monday April 8 peacefully at home following a short illness,” a statement read.

“His family has asked that the media and public respect their privacy at this time.”

Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Peter Higgs was a remarkable individual – a truly gifted scientist whose vision and imagination have enriched our knowledge of the world that surrounds us.

“His pioneering work has motivated thousands of scientists, and his legacy will continue to inspire many more for generations to come.”

“It has been confirmed that Professor Peter Higgs has passed away at the age of 94.”

Higgs was born in Newcastle, in 1929. He first studied at Kings College London but took up a post at the University of Edinburgh in 1960, working there until he retired in 1996.

In 1964, he had proposed a theory of how particles acquired mass that depended on the particle that would eventually take his name. It suggested that all of physics depended on a special kind of particle – the Higgs boson – that was required to make the universe exist at all but which had not at that point been discovered.

Almost 50 years later, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider found evidence of the Higgs particle, confirming the Standard Model of physics and Higgs’ work. That led to him receiving the Nobel prize a year later, sharing it with François Englert, another physicist who proposed the same theory at the same time, independently of Higgs’ work.

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