CERN congratulates François Englert and Peter W. Higgs on the award of the Nobel prize in physics “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.” The announcement by the ATLAS and CMS experiments took place on 4 July last year.
“I’m thrilled that this year’s Nobel prize has gone to particle physics,” says CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer. “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.”
Members of the ATLAS and CMS collaborations react with jubilation at CERN as the announcement is made (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)
The Brout-Englert-Higgs (BEH) mechanism was first proposed in 1964 in two papers published independently, the first by Belgian physicists Robert Brout and François Englert, and the second by British physicist Peter Higgs. It explains how the force responsible for beta decay is much weaker than electromagnetism, but is better known as the mechanism that endows fundamental particles with mass. A third paper, published by Americans Gerald Guralnik and Carl Hagen with their British colleague Tom Kibble further contributed to the development of the new idea, which now forms an essential part of the Standard Model of particle physics. As was pointed out by Higgs, a key prediction of the idea is the existence of a massive boson of a new type, which was discovered by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN in 2012.
The Standard Model describes the fundamental particles from which we, and all the visible matter in the universe, are made, along with the interactions that govern their behaviour. It is a remarkably successful theory that has been thoroughly tested by experiment over many years. Until last year, the BEH mechanism was the last remaining piece of the model to be experimentally verified. Now that it has been found, experiments at CERN are eagerly looking for physics beyond the Standard Model.
The Higgs particle was discovered by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations, each of which involves over 3000 people from all around the world. They have constructed sophisticated instruments – particle detectors – to study proton collisions at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), itself a highly complex instrument involving many people and institutes in its construction.
CERN will be holding a press conference at 2pm CET today in the Globe of Science and Innovation. For those unable to attend, it will be webcast. Media questions can be submitted by Twitter using the hashtag #BosonNobel.
About the Higgs boson
Updates about the Higgs boson
— In the first year after the discovery of the Higgs boson, physicists from ATLAS and CMS have been busy studying the properties of the new particle
— In this animated lesson for TED-Ed, CERN physicists David Barney and Steven Goldfarb use the Socratic method to explain the Higgs boson
— Physicists from the ATLAS and CMS collaborations explain how they came to identify the new particle of 2012 as "a Higgs boson"
— With two and a half times more data analysed than in July last year, ATLAS and CMS find that the new particle looks more and more like a Higgs boson
— The particle was the star of Enlightenment - a science-themed ceremony featuring Stephen Hawking and Ian McKellen
— Our understanding of the universe is about to change…
More Higgs boson updates
— The CMS collaboration have measured the decay of the Higgs boson to pairs of bottom quarks and to pairs of tau leptons
— The ATLAS experiment at CERN has found evidence for the Higgs boson decaying to two tau particles
— CERN, along with Peter Higgs and François Englert, today receives the Prince of Asturias Award during a ceremony in Spain
— Cameras were rolling in CERN's building 40 when members of the ATLAS and CMS collaborations heard the news from Stockholm live yesterday
— Objects as large as a planet or as small as a photon can have the property of spin. Spin is also the reason we can watch movies in 3D.
— Physicists speaking today at the Moriond conference say that the new particle discovered at CERN last year is looking more and more like a Higgs boson
— A Higgs-like boson, more new particles and record performance at the LHC: 2012 has been good to CERN
— TIME magazine today named ATLAS spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti as a runner-up for Person of the Year. A certain Higgs-like boson was also mentioned...
— Proposals to build colliders that churn out the new Higgs-like particle are gathering momentum. But what would these colliders look like?
— The collaborations published the latest in the search for the Standard Model Higgs boson in the journal Physics Letters B
— The ATLAS and CMS collaborations today submitted papers to the journal Physics Letters B outlining the latest on their searches for the Higgs boson