Prof Peter Higgs honoured for Higgs boson discovery

21 Jul 2015

Prof Peter Higgs pictured at CERN

Prof Peter Higgs has been awarded the world’s oldest scientific prize, The Royal Society’s Copley Medal.

Prof Higgs receives the Copley Medal for his “fundamental contribution to particle physics”, the theory explaining the origin of mass in elementary particles.

Modern physics suggests that all matter consists of a set of particles that act as building blocks for everything, and that between these particles lie forces that are controlled by another set of particles. A fundamental property of the majority of the particles is that they have mass.

In 1964, Prof Peter Higgs proposed the existence of a particle that explains why these particles have mass.

The existence of the Higgs boson was confirmed in 2012 by experiments at the Large Hadron Collider.

The Copley Medal is science’s oldest prize. It was first awarded in 1731, pre-dating the Nobel Prize by some 170 years.

In winning it, Prof Higgs is in fine company. Previous recipients include Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

The Royal Medal

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, a speaker at Inspirefest 2015 , was also honoured at the awards. Burnell has received a Royal Medal in recognition of her “pivotal contribution” to the discovery of pulsars, and her subsequent observation, analysis and understanding of them.

Watch Burnell speak on the Inspirefest stage about the hugely significant discovery:

The Royal Society is a Fellowship of the world’s most distinguished scientists. Its members aim to recognise, promote and support excellence in science, and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

The full list of awards can be found on The Royal Society’s website.

Main image, via Marc Buehler/Flickr

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.

Kirsty Tobin was careers editor at Silicon Republic