Peter Higgs - 1929 - 2024

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Peter Higgs died on Monday.

One of the most well-known physicists because the Higgs boson was named after him - the only fundamental particle named after a person.
He proposed the existence of the particle in the 1960s together with other theorists, then watched 50 years of searches for it and saw the discovery in 2012 (with a very emotional Peter Higgs in the audience).
 
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I think one of the ultimate achievements and satisfactions of being a scientist.
 
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Sad, but 94 is a great age and unlike many of his collegues cooking up SUSY he lived to see his predicted particle actually being measured.
 
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  • #4
mfb said:
Peter Higgs died on Monday.

One of the most well-known physicists because the Higgs boson was named after him - the only fundamental particle named after a person.
He proposed the existence of the particle in the 1960s together with other theorists, then watched 50 years of searches for it and saw the discovery in 2012 (with a very emotional Peter Higgs in the audience).
We all watched this.

 
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  • #5
So really, he reached a respect-inducing age and wrote himself into the history books as an example to be followed. He had a good run after all. :)
 
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  • #6
One of his more obscure honors is that in theoretical physics, he became a verb. The earliest reference I can find to being higgsed is from 1981, while higgsing had to wait until the 1990s, but it's now standard jargon for spontaneously breaking a symmetry.
 
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  • #7
mfb said:
the only fundamental particle named after a person.
<cough> J/ψ >cough>
 
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Vanadium 50 said:
<cough> J/ψ >cough>
<cough>fundamental</cough>
 
  • #9
haushofer said:
Sad, but 94 is a great age and unlike many of his collegues cooking up SUSY he lived to see his predicted particle actually being measured.
In comparison his advisor, Charles Coulson died at 63.
 
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https://www.ft.com/content/9976bb20-e791-42c5-a3ca-92f06a9d54ee

The Nobel Prize-winning particle physicist Professor Peter Higgs, whose prediction of the Higgs boson helped revolutionise understanding of the universe, has died aged 94.

Higgs, who died peacefully at home on Monday, saw the groundbreaking theoretical work he and others did in the 1960s triumphantly confirmed by experiments at the Cern particle accelerator almost half a century later.

The detection of the Higgs boson in 2012 at Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva, completed the so-called Standard Model of particle physics. It confirmed the existence of a fundamental field that, as Higgs had postulated, filled the universe and gave mass to the stars, planets and life within.
 
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  • #12
You could also argue (somewhat loosely, I'm aware) that the global community used $8 billion to prove the man right or wrong and he turned out to be right. If that's not hardcore I don't know what is. :)
 
  • #13
While I see that there are many more scientific news articles popping up:
I still feel that the accounts are more of the same (modest man, Higgs particle quest, Nobel prize). I am waiting for a more personal account from people close to him. More day to day stuff and other parts of his life (for the moment I recommend the NYTimes: Peter Higgs, Nobelist Who Predicted the ‘God Particle,’ Dies at 94).
 
  • #14
Many news outlets if not all news outlets have obituaries for all prominent people ready to go.

They wont know more personal things until shared by loved ones, good friends and colleagues until well after they have passed on.
 
  • #15
jedishrfu said:
Many news outlets if not all news outlets have obituaries for all prominent people ready to go.

They wont know more personal things until shared by loved ones, good friends and colleagues until well after they have passed on.
Sometimes those obituaries are written by people close to the person. PhysicsToday usually does this for physicists, but it may take some time as you say.
 
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  • #16
It has been confirmed that Professor Peter Higgs has died at the age of 94. He passed away peacefully at home on Monday 8 April following a short illness.

Professor Higgs is renowned the world over for his prediction of the existence of a new particle – the so-called Higgs boson – which he first proposed in 1964.

It would be almost 50 years before the particle’s existence could be confirmed, with experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN finally confirming Higgs’ theory in 2012. He was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this work in 2013, along with Francois Englert.

Professor Higgs was also a great teacher and mentor, inspiring generations of young scientists.
Source:
https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2024/statement-on-the-death-of-professor-peter-higgs
 
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  • #17
It seems that from the 6 authors of the 1964 Higgs field papers, only Englert (91) and Hagen (87) are still alive.
 
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  • #18
There are some memes going around, and they are not the case. To try and clear things up:

The Higgs boson was actually not proposed by Peter Higgs. It was proposed by one of his referees, Yochiro Nambu.

The importance of Higgs' work was not the Higgs boson. It was the Higgs mechanism. And the challenge was not to give the Ws and Z mass. The challenge was to do that an leave the photon massless. That was the big accomplishment.

The LHC was not built "to find the Higgs". It was to explore electroweak symmetry breaking. The Higgs mechanism was the favored candidate, but far from the only one. At the time, there was what was called the "no-lose theorem", which stated there would be something visible at the LHC, maybe a Higgs boson, maybe something else.

An important name in all this was Steven Weinberg, whose 1967 paper A Model of Leptons highlighted the importance of the Higgs mechanism. This paper was foundational in the development of what is now called the Standard Model.
 
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