Peter Higgs unveils a plaque in his honour in Edinburgh

5 March 2015

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Prof. Peter Higgs today unveiled a blue plaque in his honour in his home city.

Higgs

The installation marks the site where Prof. Higgs first predicted the subatomic particle now known as the Higgs boson, more than 50 years ago when he was a researcher at the University of Edinburgh.

The plaque, sponsored by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and Edinburgh City Council, is at 5 Roxburgh Street, Edinburgh. It states that Prof. Higgs “wrote the papers which predicted the Higgs boson in this building in 1964”.

Prof. Higgs unveiled the plaque following a ceremony at the university at which he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) for “outstanding accomplishment in the field of theoretical physics, especially his fundamental work on the origin of mass”.

During a sabbatical year at UNC in 1965-66 he wrote an academic paper that would form the basis of experiments at CERN. Conferring the degree, UNC’s chancellor, Prof. Carol L. Folt, said: “Nearly half a century ago, Prof. Higgs found himself at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducting revolutionary work in physics and his work continues to inspire us.

“His research had a profound impact on the field of fundamental physics, and his example motivates our faculty and students to pursue their passions and make their own significant mark on their discipline.”

Prof. Richard Kenway, vice principal of the University of Edinburgh and a former colleague of Prof. Higgs, said: “It is truly historic to celebrate such a seminal theory in physics with its author, Peter Higgs, in the building where he first wrote it more than 50 years ago, and in the company of some of his colleagues from that time.”

Prof. Kenway hosted the event, which was also attended by some UNC students who are currently studying at Edinburgh.