Peter Higgs Learned About His Nobel From A Former Neighbor | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Peter Higgs Learned About His Nobel From A Former Neighbor

The notoriously shy Peter Higgs learned that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday from a former neighbor.

In a press conference on Friday, the British theoretical physicist said he had tried to skip town on Tuesday, but instead ended up at a restaurant to have beer and soup. The Nobel Prize Committee in Stockholm tried to call Higgs shortly before they made the announcement, but Higgs does not have a cellphone.

As he was walking back home, "a car pulled up across the road and a lady in her 60s or 70s got out and introduced herself as a former neighbor, a widow of a judge who died recently, and congratulated me on the news," Higgs said. "I said 'what news?' and she told me that her daughter had phoned from London to alert her to the fact that I had got this prize."

As we explained, Higgs and François Englert were awarded the Nobel for the theoretical discovery of the Higgs boson, the mechanism that explains how particles acquire mass.

The two first proposed the mechanism in 1964, but it wasn't until 2012, when the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, used a massive atom smasher that the scientists were able to detect the subatomic particle.

Higgs said that for many years, he thought the "experimental verification might not come in my lifetime."

So, how did he feel when he heard the news?

"Well, obviously I'm delighted and rather relieved in a sense that it's all over," Higgs said. "It has been a long time coming."

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

NPR

How One Poet's 'Genius Grant' Became A Gift To Future Generations

Amy Clampitt was named a MacArthur genius in 1992. Today, the home she bought with her award money is used to house rising poets in tuition-free residencies.
NPR

Edible Packaging? Retailers Not Quite Ready To Ditch The Wrapper

To reduce waste, some enterprising companies are trying to roll out products that make the package part of the snack — edible packaging. But selling it to the retail market is trickier than it seems.
NPR

House Could Vote $500 Million To Arm, Train Syrian Rebels

The possible vote to authorize the Obama administration's plan to arm and train moderate fighters comes as the president meets with military officials at U.S. Central Command.
NPR

When The Power's Out, Solar Panels May Not Keep The Lights On

With the price of solar panels falling, more municipalities and homeowners are installing them. But having solar panels doesn't mean you won't lose power in a blackout — at least not yet.

Leave a Comment

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