Peter Higgs receives Nobel prize medal

  • Published
Media caption,
Swedish King Carl Gustav presented Prof Peter Higgs and Francois Englert with their medals on Tuesday

Prof Peter Higgs has received his Nobel prize for physics at a ceremony in Stockholm.

The Edinburgh University emeritus professor shared this year's physics prize with Francois Englert for work on the theory of the Higgs boson.

In the 1960s, they were among the physicists who proposed a mechanism to explain why the most basic building blocks of the Universe have mass.

Winners in other Nobel categories will also receive their awards at the event.

These include this year's laureates in chemistry, economics, medicine and literature.

Sweden's King Carl Gustav presented Prof Higgs with his Nobel medal at the Stockholm Concert Hall just before 1600 GMT.

Higgs was at Edinburgh University when he came up with the theory. The mechanism he helped devise predicts a particle - the Higgs boson - which was finally discovered in 2012 at the Large Hadron Collider on the French-Swiss border.

The Nobel award was somewhat controversial because several physicists were responsible for developing the mechanism at the same time: others include Robert Brout (who is now deceased), Gerald Guralnik, Carl Hagen and Tom Kibble.

The issue had been discussed for some time because the physics prize can be awarded to a maximum of three people.

Commenting on the discovery of the Higgs boson in a speech before the presentation, particle physicist Prof Lars Brink said: "On July 4 2012, [scientists] spread the news that they had found the particle.

"It had been found that Nature follows precisely that law that Brout, Englert and Higgs had created - a fantastic triumph for science."

At the weekend, Higgs told the Guardian newspaper that no university would employ him today because he would not be considered sufficiently "productive".

Prof Higgs said he "became an embarrassment to the department" when they carried out research assessment exercises. A message would go round to academics asking them for a list of recent publications. Higgs said: "I would send back a statement: 'None'."

But he said that he doubted a similar breakthrough could be made in today's academic culture because of the expectation on researchers to churn out papers.

"It's difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964," he told the newspaper.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the body at the Oslo City Hall in Norway.