News / Europe

Nobel Physics Prize Goes to 'God Particle' Theorists

FILE - British physicist Peter Higgs, right, talks with Belgian physicist Francois Englert at CERN news conference, near Geneva, July 4, 2012.
FILE - British physicist Peter Higgs, right, talks with Belgian physicist Francois Englert at CERN news conference, near Geneva, July 4, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Francois Englert of Belgium and Peter Higgs of Britain have won the 2013 Nobel Prize for physics for the discovery of the so-called "God particle."

2013 Nobel Prize in Physics

Awarded for the theory of how particles acquire mass to:

  • Francois Englert of the Universite Libre de Bruxelles
  • Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh
  • Englert and Higgs proposed the theory independently of each other in 1964
  • Their ideas were confirmed in 2012 by the discovery of a so-called Higgs, or 'God' particle
Staffan Normark of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the winners Tuesday in Stockholm, describing the discovery as "something very small that makes all the difference."

He said, "And the Academy citation runs: '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 two scientists, Englert and Higgs, are known for discovering the Higgs boson, the sub-atomic particle nicknamed "the God particle" because it validates a very basic concept of particle physics, the so-called "Higgs field," which is believed to make possible the existence of atoms themselves.

Scientists, who have sought the particle for nearly 50 years, believe the Higgs boson existed only during the first millionth of a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, the explosion which created the universe some 13 billion years ago.

Joe Incandela, a spokesman for one of the experiment teams, has previously described the boson as being unlike any particle found so far.

"We are reaching into the fabric of the universe at a level we have never done before," said Incandela. "This is telling us something. It is key to the structure of the universe. We are on the frontier now. We are at the edge of a new exploration and this could open up - maybe we see nothing extraordinary, and we understand that maybe this is the only part of the story that is left. Or maybe we open up a whole new realm of discovery."

The Higgs boson was detected in 2012 at the European Center for Nuclear Research's giant, underground particle-smasher near Geneva, Switzerland, also known as the CERN laboratory. The discovery was later confirmed in March of this year after a series of international ATLAS and CMS experiments performed at that lab.

Many American scientists contributed to both experiments.

The Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York state served as the U.S. hub for the ATLAS experiment, and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (in the state of Illinois) served as the U.S. hub for the CMS experiment.  

Howard Gordon, deputy chair of the Brookhaven physics department, spoke to VOA about the discovery of the Higgs boson.

He said, "We found evidence that it was true. There was a lot of speculation about this theory. There were people that had different ideas of how these particles would get their mass, so there was quite a bit of skepticism about this theory, which was postulated 50 years ago.  But, yes, our two experiments, ATLAS and CMS, proved that the theory was correct."

Gordon called the discovery a "great triumph of intellectual accomplishment." He said, "The fact that somebody had this idea, and it’s been proven out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any practical application that we know of today. "

 But he added, "I always like to look back 100 years or more, when questions of what was an electron good for, what is Einstein’s theory of relativity good for.  In the case of Einstein’s theory of relativity, a modern GPS uses relativistic corrections to get its accuracy, so without the theory of relativity that Einstein came up with 100 years ago, we wouldn’t have the application for the GPS today. So this is something that doesn’t have an immediate application. We don’t know really how it’s going to be used.  But it’s a tremendous triumph of science to understand now what gives these elementary particles their mass."

The "God particle" is the last piece of mystery in the Standard Model of physics, a theory that explains how everything in the cosmos is made from 12 basic building blocks.

The two scientists will share a $1.25 million prize that will be handed out in December.  

Prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: riano baggy from: indonesia
October 09, 2013 7:38 AM
congratulation to Mr Englert and Mr Higgs. The God particle,now it,s a hot discuss. I think jury have remind to us how important our universe so we live a small planet among thousand planets, so we must care for our generation and next generation.


by: Cranksy from: USA
October 08, 2013 11:00 PM
"Englert and Higgs proposed the theory independently of each other in 1964." (from VOA) Darwin and Wallace: "He [Wallace] is best know for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection." (from Wikipedia) Newton and Leibniz: "Generally [calculus] is considered to have been founded in the 17th century by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz...." (from Wikipedia) How seriously should we take the notion: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?


by: Studentchienle from: Canada
October 08, 2013 9:37 PM
I learned Quantum Physics from 1987,just researching structures of Atoms,I admired many historic researches long
time ago, and beginningMendeleev in Russia, and every year
with Nobel Prize for inventions of Physics,each invention was ,is ,will applied into practice, like Radio,TV,Cassette,color TV, Transistors,and now computers, and Internet,with experiments very real,and now they can accelerated by programming,timing,designing,with multiple applications in life,
the life now is too much better, nearly the best of the best, people can see ,hear each other fromth longest distance of theworld in present time,can record in camera,video,Ipad,Ipod...
havinga magic pearl in hand everytime, everywhere, knowing
newest news in any parts of the world insome second from the
disasters, earthquake, storms even in anywhere while sleeping in bed, in boats, in restaurants,Hotels, on planes,
when telling what they will complete like they will have video
camera very small as a handful, from 1965, until year of 2000
(40 years to complete), dedicating to fulfill,totally applied into practice from inventions from Physics or Chemistry, Medicines
inumerables of achievements like a dictionary of products for serving better life on earth,even on discovery DNA, searching new genes for new high productivity in rice plants inPhilippines
solving starvation for Asia(1970,Scientist Borland USA)
Sub-Atoms were discovered from 1962,but until 2012, has just claimed true,with experiments from CERN (Hadron Reactor) a giant achievement of human kind, a movement
of applications always going on after it,and always so like many
others before, if we can not doing any new next, the first achievement is gettingnew data from news, data for health, transportation, security,alarming disasters,erathquakes,forecast
weather more and more accurate,knowingmore what happen next insome targets inthe body,like cancers, AIDS,...designing smaller or larger, faster, but slower in meeting the death.,the world as well as me appreciate this achievement and admire ,
the feat of CERN group ,especially Mr F.Englert,Mr Peter Higgs,your name will be marked as Einstein, Oppenheimer,Pascal.....as for me Sub-atom has had an inspiration in programming,designing in world of Micro,macro, level n,when observing a drop of water in zero gravity, we can see the dimension of universe, and the speed of light is nothing
comparing the previous inventions,thanks to discovering sub-atoms, we cansee more the structures of the Universe,the happenings of materials im everywhereon earth even things we cannot see,hear...Magic things begins from now on
d




by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 08, 2013 1:49 PM
'For the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles...' Please stress on the keyword THEORETICAL, and see how foolish it sounds. Here I can see a hypothesis put forward to prove the non-existence of an intelligence that brought the universe into existence, and the award is nothing but a desire to use an un-provable theory to becloud the intellect of the unwary and redirect it to something absolutely beyond comprehension. Can Non-existence result in existence? IMPOSSIBLE! For while we see such theories as the existence of higgs boson to be dangerously diversionary, science continues to recede into fable and fairy tales and continues to migrate beyond human reach, so that we are inundated with stories of planets, comets, stars and asteroids that are trillions of light years away. In other words, we are told of things that there is no way of proving them in this life, theories that only the scientists cook up to deceive the rest of humanity. For who is there to travel with light for a billion years to understand where its image is coming from? Who is to prove to us that such lights have been traveling through those years, the distance and have not been interrupted or distorted until it locates our universe? Knowledge that has no way of benefiting mankind, not now, not in the time to come. Now we want to prove higgs boson as the binding relationship of matter in atoms; what happens to magnetism? What is the force behind AIDS virus? What power drives cancer cell and how are we to change its nomenclature to at least turn it to manageable strain? How is mankind going to survive a nuclear bomb in the much anticipated WWIII? Is it possible to reverse climate change and by what means? How is mankind going to conquer aging and diseases? The Nobel; recognition of the discovery of higgs boson is an expensive distraction that the world at this stage will consider treacherous, especially when huge sums of money may be involved, money that should be used to feed the world's poor and hungry. I hear the research center for this stupid theory costs in hundreds of billions of dollars, and another million plus is going to the formulators of the fable theory. What an odd world! All just because someone somewhere wants to say there is no God. Even when prof. Dawin propounded the theory of evolution from the big bang, he did not insist the particle world was not created. Instead he tended to direct attention to a systematic development of living things from unicellular, to simple multicellular and complex multicellular organisms and beings. He did not intend it to lead to this wild cart chase.

In Response

by: Hans from: Australia
October 08, 2013 11:46 PM
Godwin - He always does win - you are quite right but you too felt for this man made climate change nonsense. It's the sun and not the 3% of gases which human produce and those 3% overpower the rest of 97% produced by nature.
Evolutionists always have that something does something to something to become something new.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid