The Higgs boson: Revealing nature’s secrets

Jul 22, 2020

“For me, it’s an incredible thing that it happened in my lifetime!”

Peter Higgs was at a loss for words. The CMS and ATLAS collaborations had just announced the discovery of a new, Higgs-boson-like particle at the Large Hadron Collider.

It had been 48 years since the publication of his paper that first predicted the existence of the particle that bears his name, not long after Robert Brout and François Englert proposed a new mechanism that would give mass to elementary bosons. More than 30 years had elapsed since the LHC was first conceived and around 20 years since the ATLAS and CMS collaborations were formed. After those long years filled with anticipation, it only took the Swedish Academy of Sciences a little over one year to award Englert and Higgs the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics.

For Peter Higgs, the discovery of the Higgs boson was the end of a remarkable journey. For particle physics, it was the beginning of a new one.

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