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Peter Higgs, physicist who theorised the Higgs boson, has died aged 94

Groundbreaking theoretical physicist Peter Higgs has died at age 94. Higgs’s work explaining how elementary particles get their mass won him the Nobel prize in 2013 and formed a key ingredient in the standard model of particle physics. He died in his home in Edinburgh, UK, on 8 April after a short illness.

In 1964, while working as a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, Higgs made a prediction that would prove to have a huge impact on the world of physics: he postulated the existence of a field suffusing the universe that gave mass to particles moments after the big bang. This field would be associated with a particle of its own, which was later named the Higgs boson.

The Higgs boson went on to become a foundational prediction of the standard model of particle physics, nicknamed the “god particle” – a moniker that Higgs himself called “an unfortunate mixing of theoretical physics with bad theology” in a 2017 interview with New Scientist.

Can a new collider reveal the last secrets of the Higgs boson?

Can a new collider reveal the last secrets of the Higgs boson?

The most famous subatomic particle has revealed nothing we didn’t expect – so far. Now physicists want to build a “Higgs factory” to better interrogate it for signs of new physics

After years of searching for proof of the Higgs boson, it was finally discovered at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Switzerland in 2012. A year later, Higgs was awarded the Nobel prize, one of many prizes and honours he received for his work.

The discovery of the Higgs boson is commonly cited as the most consequential work of the Large Hadron Collider, but it also marked the beginning of a strange time in particle physics – with all of the particles predicted by the standard model found, what is next? Higgs himself hoped that we would be able to use colliders to connect particle physics with cosmology and the search for dark matter, but those questions remain open.

Even after his retirement in 1996, Higgs continued to attend physics conferences and to collaborate with colleagues and students. He spoke often about supersymmetry, a framework for physics in which each known particle has a corresponding partner with a different spin. If we do live in a supersymmetric universe, there should be many more particles out there to discover.

Collision of Particles in the Abstract Collider; Shutterstock ID 342639581; purchase_order: 2 May online; job: Photo; client: NS; other:

Strange new Higgs particles could explain shocking W boson result

Ideas from beyond the standard model of particle physics, including technicolor and glueball Higgs particles, could explain the recent shock finding that the W boson is heavier than we thought

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