Peter Higgs: Theoretical physicist who proposed Higgs boson dies aged 94

Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Higgs, British theoretical physicist renowned for his prediction of the existence of a new particle, the Higgs boson, has died on Monday 8 April.

The University of Edinburgh, where Higgs was emeritus professor, announced on Tuesday that he had “passed away peacefully at home … following a short illness”.

Higgs bosons are the quantum excitation of the Higgs field – a field that fills the entire universe and which interacts with fundamental particles to give them their mass.

Higgs first proposed the Higgs boson in 1964, but it would take almost 50 years to confirm its existence. On July 4, 2012, it was announced that scientists undertaking experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN had finally observed the Higgs boson.

Following this, Higgs was jointly awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Belgian theoretical physicist Francois Englert.

Professor Joel Goldstein, theme lead for Particle Physics in the School of Physics at the University of Bristol said: “Peter Higgs was a quiet and modest man, who never seemed comfortable with the fame he achieved even though this work underpins the entire modern theoretical framework of particle physics.”

Professor Tina Potter and Dr Harry Cliff from the High Energy Physics Group at the Cavendish Laboratory, the University of Cambridge, said: “His work on the origin of mass is the keystone of our standard model of particles and forces. Understanding the particle he first predicted in 1964 will be the great mission of particle physics well into the latter half of this century.”

Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, principal and vice chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said that 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.”

Please login to favourite this article.