Peter W. Higgs
Born: 29 May 1929, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "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"
Field: particle physics
Prize share: 1/2
Peter Higgs was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK, to a Scottish mother and an English father who worked as a sound engineer at the BBC. Because he suffered from asthma, Peter received part of his early education at his home in Bristol before moving to London to study math and physics at age 17. He received his Ph.D. from King's College in 1954. He then moved to the University of Edinburgh, where he has remained, with the exception of a few years spent in London in the late 1950s. Peter Higgs has two sons.
According to modern physics, matter consists of a set of particles that act as building blocks. Between these particles lie forces that are mediated by another set of particles. A fundamental property of the majority of particles is that they have a mass. Independently of one another, in 1964 both Peter Higgs and the team of François Englert and Robert Brout proposed a theory about the existence of a particle that explains why other particles have a mass. In 2012, two experiments conducted at the CERN laboratory confirmed the existence of the Higgs particle.