Higgs boson scientists win Nobel physics prize

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Higgs boson
Computer images showing the detection of the Higgs boson particle.

The Nobel prizes just keep rolling out this week. On Tuesday, the United Kingdom’s very own Peter Higgs and Belgium’s Francois Englert won the Nobel prize for physics (the science of how matter and energy behave) for predicting the Higgs boson particle.

The what?

Basically, this “God particle” (as it’s often called) describes the most basic building block of the universe. It’s also considered the most important theory in understanding… well… everything!

Except, perhaps, why Higgs himself (who avoids the public), didn’t even show up to get his own award. Talk about not liking to socialize! At least he released a statement through the University of Edinburgh where he works, expressing, “I am overwhelmed to receive this award,” adding, “I hope this recognition of fundamental science will help raise awareness of the value of blue-sky research.” He hopes people will study the blue sky? Nah, blue-sky research means studying science that’s not necessarily going to have obvious real-world use. You know, kind of like figuring out the God particle.

While their prediction about the Higgs boson was made nearly 50 years ago, it wasn’t until 2012 that the particle was finally detected. A super high-tech machine called the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) confirmed the existence of the “God particle” in 2012, and now the two researchers get to share the $1.25 million prize. It’s got to feel nice having your theory proven right after all those years, huh?

Images courtesy of CERN.