NPR : News

Filed Under:

An Aerogramme From Professor Higgs, Nobel Winner

Well, it's happened. British scientist Peter Higgs has won a Nobel Prize for proposing the Higgs boson particle as part of a mechanism that explains how things in the universe came to have mass.

Higgs seems to be lying low today so far — a colleague told The New York Times that Higgs had "gone off by himself for a few days without saying where" and that a reporter seeking an interview recently had been "sent away with a flea in his ear."

As it happens, when I was just starting out in journalism 16 years ago, I wrote an email to Higgs at the University of Edinburgh asking him how the particle everyone was looking for had come to bear his name. (The Higgs is also known as the "God Particle" — a name that started out as a joke and stuck.)

I had just finished grad school in physics and was nervous to be emailing the guy whose name had figured so prominently in my classes. (Is this what journalists do? Just email famous people asking questions?)

I didn't hear anything for a month. But then this lovely aerogramme appeared in the mail. I've kept it in my desk ever since.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Pepe The Frog's Long, Strange Journey — From Internet Meme To Hate Symbol

The Anti-Defamation League lists a number of symbols used by hate groups. Now among them is a cartoon frog named Pepe — but how did this odd image come to be associated with hate speech?
NPR

Whales, Sea Turtles, Seals: The Unintended Catch Of Abandoned Fishing Gear

An endangered whale was found dead over the weekend, entangled in derelict fishing gear. Such incidents have been on the rise in recent years. A new California law aims to combat the problem.
NPR

Pepe The Frog's Long, Strange Journey — From Internet Meme To Hate Symbol

The Anti-Defamation League lists a number of symbols used by hate groups. Now among them is a cartoon frog named Pepe — but how did this odd image come to be associated with hate speech?
NPR

Tech Giants Team Up To Tackle The Ethics Of Artificial Intelligence

Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and IBM form a group to set the first industrywide best practices for the technology already powering many applications, such as voice and image recognition.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.