Higgs Boson Physicists Win Nobel Prize 50 Years After Predicting Particle

The Higgs Boson particle remained elusive for more than half a century until being discovered earlier this year. On Tuesday it was discovered that the Nobel Prize committee has awarded the particles founders with its top prize.

After only a short discussion period the Nobel Prize committee awarded the honor to Peter Higgs, of the United Kingdom, and François Englert, of Belgium. The two men were part of a trio who predicted the existence of the Higgs Boson particle nearly 50 years ago.

According to the committee the prize was being awarded jointly “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider,”

Earlier this year the team at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider said they believed the Higgs Boson particle had been found, the group later confirmed its findings.

According to Olga Botner, a Nobel committee member, the group has been unable to locate Higgs. It’s rumored that “he has gone into hiding for the rest of the week in anticipation.”

In a public statement CERN Director General Rolf Heuer said:

“I’m thrilled that this year’s Nobel Prize has gone to particle physics. The discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN last year, which validates the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism, marks the culmination of decades of intellectual effort by many people around the world.”

Discovering the Higgs Boson particle could be a huge step forward for science. That particle was the last missing part for the theory of particle physics known as the Standard Model.

Both Englert and Higgs independently published their own research on the process for which particles obtain their mass. Their theory is now known as the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism. The physicists proposed what they called the Higgs field, an energy field that pervades space and is thought to imbue particles with mass, along with the theory of particle masses

Englert and Robert Brout carried out their work together until Brout passed away. The Nobel Prize is not awarded posthumously which explains why Brout was not included with the other discoverers of the Higgs Boson.

The winners will split $1.25 million in prize money.