The award of the Nobel Prize in Physics to the men behind the Higgs boson “recognises a truly fundamental conceptual achievement in particle physics”, according to a Durham University expert.
Professor Valentin Khoze, Director of Durham’s Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP), was commenting after Professor Peter Higgs, from the UK, and Francois Englert, from Belgium, were awarded the prize.
The pioneering work of Higgs and Englert laid down theoretical foundations for the electro-weak symmetry breaking – the concept which is at the heart of contemporary particle physics. Fifty years ago they predicted that a particle – the Higgs boson – that generated masses for other elementary particles must exist in nature. Last year scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, in Geneva, announced they had found the long-sought Higgs boson.
Experts at the IPPP have provided the theory and analysis behind a number of experiments at the LHC. The IPPP at Durham University is a leading international centre for research in particle physics phenomenology – the bridge between theory and experiment in the study of the tiny building blocks of all matter in the Universe and of the fundamental forces that operate between them.
In June this year Professor Peter Higgs was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by Durham University, in recognition of his landmark research which theorised the existence of the Higgs boson. Professor Khoze said: “The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics recognises a truly fundamental conceptual achievement in particle physics. “The search for the elusive Higgs boson predicted by the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism was on-going for almost 50 years until scientists at the Large Hadron Collider experiment at CERN announced a spectacular discovery of a particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson, thus confirming their groundbreaking theoretical work.
“The Higgs particle generates masses for other elementary particles and without it the Universe would not remotely look like anything we see today. “The Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism and the Higgs boson play an absolutely vital role in our very understanding of fundamental physics. “This brings us closer to uncovering new physics phenomena, explaining dark matter and other mysteries of the Universe.”