41 Facts About Peter Higgs


Peter Ware Higgs was born on 29 May 1929 and is a British theoretical physicist, Emeritus Professor in the University of Edinburgh, and Nobel Prize laureate for his work on the mass of subatomic particles.

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The Peter Higgs mechanism is generally accepted as an important ingredient in the Standard Model of particle physics, without which certain particles would have no mass.

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The discovery of the Peter Higgs boson prompted fellow physicist Stephen Hawking to note that he thought that Peter Higgs should receive the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work, which he finally did, shared with Francois Englert in 2013.

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Peter Higgs was appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour in the 2013 New Year Honours and in 2015 the Royal Society awarded him the Copley Medal, the world's oldest scientific prize.

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Peter Higgs was born in the Elswick district of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, to Thomas Ware Peter Higgs and his wife Gertrude Maude nee Coghill .

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Peter Higgs's father worked as a sound engineer for the BBC, and as a result of childhood asthma, together with the family moving around because of his father's job and later World War II, Higgs missed some early schooling and was taught at home.

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When his father relocated to Bedford, Peter Higgs stayed behind in Bristol with his mother, and was largely raised there.

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In 1946, at the age of 17, Peter Higgs moved to City of London School, where he specialised in mathematics, then in 1947 to King's College London where he graduated with a first class honours degree in Physics in 1950 and achieved a master's degree in 1952.

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Peter Higgs was awarded an 1851 Research Fellowship from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, and performed his doctoral research in molecular physics under the supervision of Charles Coulson and Christopher Longuet-Higgins.

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Peter Higgs was awarded a PhD degree in 1954 with a thesis entitled Some problems in the theory of molecular vibrations from King's College London.

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Peter Higgs then held various posts at Imperial College London, and University College London .

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Peter Higgs returned to the University of Edinburgh in 1960 to take up the post of Lecturer at the Tait Institute of Mathematical Physics, allowing him to settle in the city he had enjoyed while hitchhiking to the Western Highlands as a student in 1949.

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Peter Higgs was promoted to Reader, became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1974 and was promoted to a Personal Chair of Theoretical Physics in 1980.

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Peter Higgs retired in 1996 and became Emeritus professor at the University of Edinburgh.

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Peter Higgs was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1983 and Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 1991.

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Peter Higgs was awarded the Rutherford Medal and Prize in 1984.

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Peter Higgs received an honorary degree from the University of Bristol in 1997.

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At Edinburgh Peter Higgs first became interested in mass, developing the idea that particles – massless when the universe began – acquired mass a fraction of a second later as a result of interacting with a theoretical field .

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Peter Higgs postulated that this field permeates space, giving mass to all elementary subatomic particles that interact with it.

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Original basis of Peter Higgs' work came from the Japanese-born theorist and Nobel Prize laureate Yoichiro Nambu from the University of Chicago.

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Peter Higgs is reported to have developed the fundamentals of his theory after returning to his Edinburgh New Town apartment from a failed weekend camping trip to the Highlands.

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Peter Higgs stated that there was no "eureka moment" in the development of the theory.

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Peter Higgs wrote a short paper exploiting a loophole in Goldstone's theorem and published it in Physics Letters, a European physics journal edited at CERN, in Switzerland, in 1964.

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Peter Higgs wrote a second paper describing a theoretical model, but the paper was rejected .

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Peter Higgs wrote an extra paragraph and sent his paper to Physical Review Letters, another leading physics journal, which published it later in 1964.

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Peter Higgs is the fifth person to receive the Award, which was established in 2007 by the City of Edinburgh Council to honour an outstanding individual who has made a positive impact on the city and gained national and international recognition for Edinburgh.

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Peter Higgs was presented with an engraved loving cup by the Rt Hon George Grubb, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, in a ceremony held at the City Chambers on Friday 24 February 2012.

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Peter Higgs was awarded with the Freedom of the City of Bristol in July 2013.

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Peter Higgs admits he had gone out to avoid the media attention so he was informed he had been awarded the prize by an ex-neighbour on his way home, since he did not have a mobile phone.

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Peter Higgs turned down a knighthood in 1999, but in 2012 he accepted membership of The Order of the Companion of Honour.

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Peter Higgs later said that he only accepted the order because he was wrongly assured that the award was the gift of the Queen alone.

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Peter Higgs expressed cynicism towards the honours system, and the way the system "is used for political purposes by the government in power".

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Peter Higgs has been awarded honorary degrees from the following institutions:.

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Peter Higgs married Jody Williamson, a fellow activist with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1963.

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Peter Higgs's family includes two sons: Chris, a computer scientist, and Jonny, a jazz musician.

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Peter Higgs was an activist in the CND while in London and later in Edinburgh, but resigned his membership when the group extended its remit from campaigning against nuclear weapons to campaigning against nuclear power too.

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Peter Higgs was a Greenpeace member until the group opposed genetically modified organisms.

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Peter Higgs was awarded the 2004 Wolf Prize in Physics, but he refused to fly to Jerusalem to receive the award because it was a state occasion attended by the then president of Israel, Moshe Katsav, and Peter Higgs was opposed to Israel's actions in Palestine.

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Peter Higgs was actively involved in the Edinburgh University branch of the Association of University Teachers, through which he agitated for greater staff involvement in the management of the physics department.

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Peter Higgs has described Richard Dawkins as having adopted a "fundamentalist" view of non-atheists.

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Peter Higgs has expressed displeasure with the nickname the "God particle".

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