CERN congratulates François Englert and Peter W. Higgs on the award of the Nobel prize in physics “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.” The announcement by the ATLAS and CMS experiments took place on 4 July last year.
“I’m thrilled that this year’s Nobel prize has gone to particle physics,” says CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer. “The discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN last year, which validates the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism, marks the culmination of decades of intellectual effort by many people around the world.”
Members of the ATLAS and CMS collaborations react with jubilation at CERN as the announcement is made (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)
The Brout-Englert-Higgs (BEH) mechanism was first proposed in 1964 in two papers published independently, the first by Belgian physicists Robert Brout and François Englert, and the second by British physicist Peter Higgs. It explains how the force responsible for beta decay is much weaker than electromagnetism, but is better known as the mechanism that endows fundamental particles with mass. A third paper, published by Americans Gerald Guralnik and Carl Hagen with their British colleague Tom Kibble further contributed to the development of the new idea, which now forms an essential part of the Standard Model of particle physics. As was pointed out by Higgs, a key prediction of the idea is the existence of a massive boson of a new type, which was discovered by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN in 2012.
The Standard Model describes the fundamental particles from which we, and all the visible matter in the universe, are made, along with the interactions that govern their behaviour. It is a remarkably successful theory that has been thoroughly tested by experiment over many years. Until last year, the BEH mechanism was the last remaining piece of the model to be experimentally verified. Now that it has been found, experiments at CERN are eagerly looking for physics beyond the Standard Model.
The Higgs particle was discovered by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations, each of which involves over 3000 people from all around the world. They have constructed sophisticated instruments – particle detectors – to study proton collisions at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), itself a highly complex instrument involving many people and institutes in its construction.
CERN will be holding a press conference at 2pm CET today in the Globe of Science and Innovation. For those unable to attend, it will be webcast. Media questions can be submitted by Twitter using the hashtag #BosonNobel.
About the Higgs boson
Updates about the Higgs boson
— ATLAS and CMS present new measurements of the properties of the Higgs boson
— Do recent discoveries mean there’s nothing left? Find out what the future holds for theoretical physics in our final In Theory series installment
More Higgs boson updates
— New results from CMS and ATLAS experiments reveal how strongly the Higgs boson interacts with the heaviest known elementary particle, the top quark
— The CMS collaboration closes in on exotic long-lived particles that could get trapped in its detector layers
— Steven Weinberg’s iconic paper, A Model of Leptons, was published in 1967 and determined the direction for high-energy particle physics research
— With the LHC now back smashing protons together at an energy of 13 TeV, what exotic beasts do physicists hope to find?
— Five years ago, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations announced the discovery of the Higgs boson
— To celebrate the fourth birthday of the Higgs boson announcement CERN invites you to make your own particle-based pizza
— A new citizen science project gives sofa-scientists the chance to search for previously undiscovered particles
— At the 2015 LHCP conference the collaborations presented for the first time combined measurements of many properties of the Higgs boson
— Today the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented for the first time a combination of their results on the mass of the Higgs boson
— Recent publications from CMS use data from the LHC's first run to shed light on the properties of the Higgs boson
— Without a doubt, it is a Higgs boson, but is it the Higgs boson of the Standard Model? Run 2 of the LHC find out, says theorist John Ellis
— In CERN’s 60th year, the first proof of the existence of the Higgs boson earns a Guinness World Record for CERN, ATLAS and CMS
— At ICHEP in Valencia, Spain, all four LHC experiments presented new results from the LHC’s first run. Run 2 physics holds much promise
— Results reported by ATLAS and CMS discuss the decay of Higgs bosons directly to fermions, the particles that make up matter
— Teach the machines: CERN launches competition to develop machine-learning analysis techniques for Higgs data
— At the Moriond conference CMS presented the best constraint yet of the Higgs boson “width”, a parameter that determines the particle’s lifetime
— On his first trip to CERN since sharing the Nobel prize in physics last year with Peter Higgs, François Englert talks Higgs bosons and supersymmetry
— Watch François Englert explain the equations for the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism that gives particles mass, with the help of a blackboard
— Higgs boson decays, a Nobel prize for Higgs and Englert and a huge Open Days event were among the big stories at CERN this year
— The CMS collaboration have measured the decay of the Higgs boson to pairs of bottom quarks and to pairs of tau leptons