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Peter Higgs received Royal Society’s Copley Medal, the world's oldest scientific prize

Jul 24, 2015 10:10 IST

Nobel Prize winner Professor Peter Higgs on 20 July 2015 won the world’s oldest scientific prize, the Royal Society’s Copley Medal. With this, 86-year old Higgs joined the ranks of Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

He was awarded the medal for his fundamental contribution to particle physics and his pioneering work on the theory of the Higgs boson that explains the origin of mass in elementary particles. The presence of Higgs boson was confirmed by the experiments at Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012.

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

In 1964, Peter Higgs proposed a theory about the existence of a particle that explains why these other particles have a mass. At the same time, yet separately, François Englert and Robert Brout proposed the same theory.

The existence of the Higgs boson was confirmed by two experiments carried out at the Large Hadron Collider in 2012 with the resultant effect that the Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 was awarded jointly to Peter Higgs and François Englert.

The Copley medal was first awarded by the Royal Society in 1731, 170 years before the first Nobel Prize. It is awarded for outstanding achievements in scientific research.

In 2014 it was awarded to DNA fingerprinting pioneer Alec Jeffreys and Andre Geim was given the award in 2013 for his discovery of graphene.

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