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Higgs Boson scientists win Nobel prize in physics

Stockholm, Oct 9 (): 84-year-old Briton, Peter Higgs and Francois Englert of Belgium won the Nobel Prize for Physics 2013 on Tuesday. They were honoured for predicting the existence of the Higgs Boson particle that explains how elementary matter attained the mass to form stars and planets. The two scientists would share the 8 million Swedish crown ($1.25 million) prize money.

The scientists are awarded with this most respected award exactly 50 years after they independently announced the existence of the Higgs Boson or the “God particle” and placed before the world the theory of how particles acquire mass.

Their work helped in developing the ideas that led to the epic search to find a tiny particle known as the Higgs Boson.

Almost 50 years ago in 1964, Englert and Robert Brout, who died in 2011, and Peter Higgs individually published their work in a period of few days. They had defined a mechanism making use of what was known about particle physics at that time to try to answer a confusing problem.

How do particles acquire mass? Higgs and Englert imagined a quantum field, which is a distribution of some energy, throughout the universe. When the field is disturbed, waves travel through it. The dimmest possible wave is called a particle. In this field, since called a Higgs field, the allied particle is called the Higgs Boson.

In 2012, their ideas were confirmed by the discovery of a so-called Higgs particle at the CERN laboratory outside Geneva in Switzerland. But the scientists had never met till July 4, 2012 when CERN confirmed their discovery.

Apart from Peter Higgs, Francois Englert and Robert Brout, other people who contributed significantly to the concept of a Higgs mechanism include Tom Kibble from the UK and Robert Guralnick from the USA.

Francois Englert said he was “very happy” to win the award, speaking at the ceremony via phone link.