Nobels 2013: Physics goes to Higgs and Englert

englert“This year’s prize is about something very small that makes all the difference,” said Staffan Normark, permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in making the announcement today that Peter Higgs and François Englert had won the physics Nobel. Normark also name-checked the ATLAS and CMS detectors at CERN in his announcement.

The award goes to Englert, of the Free University of Brussels, and Higgs, of the University of Edinburgh, “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass subatomic particles”.

The researchers behind the so-called ‘Higgs particle’ have been widely expected to gain a Nobel at some point, especially after CERN confirmed the detection of such a particle in July last year, which is required in the standard model of physics.

The prize announcement states:

The entire Standard Model also rests on the existence of a special kind of particle: the Higgs particle. This particle originates from an invisible field that fills up all space. Even when the universe seems empty this field is there. Without it, we would not exist, because it is from contact with the field that particles acquire mass. The theory proposed by Englert and Higgs describes this process.

Bron: Nature Blogs