Isaac Newton Medal to be presented to Tom Kibble’s children at IOP Awards Dinner

29 November 2016

The Isaac Newton Medal and Prize for world-leading contributions to physics will be presented to Sir Thomas Kibble’s three children on his behalf at the Institute’s annual Awards Dinner tonight.

Isaac Newton Medal to be presented to Tom Kibble’s children at IOP Awards Dinner
Imperial College London

Sir Thomas Kibble, renowned for his role in the discovery of the Higgs boson, died on 2 June this year, aged 83, shortly before the Institute announced that he was to receive the prize.

His family accepted the award on his behalf, and tonight at the IOP’s annual prizegiving ceremony his three children, Alison, Helen and Robert, will be presented with his medal.

The Isaac Newton Medal, one of the highest accolades bestowed by the Institute, is awarded to physicists, regardless of subject area, background or nationality, for world-leading contributions to physics.

Professor Roy Sambles, president of the IOP, will lead a toast for Kibble, after presenting his children with his award.

Outlining why Kibble was so deserving of the award, Sambles will say: “Professor Kibble was central to some of the most inspiring physics of the early 21st century.

“The theoretical work developed jointly by him and others accurately predicted the existence of many particles that had never been seen until they were produced in particle accelerators. Among them, the Higgs boson was discovered at CERN in 2012.

“Notwithstanding his achievements, he remained a modest man of quiet distinction and dignity, respected by all who knew him, the many students he lectured and supervised and the academics he collaborated with. In very many ways he was an example not just of how to be an excellent creative scientist but how to behave towards others – a truly outstanding winner of the Isaac Newton Medal.”

Kibble, renowned throughout the physics community as a dedicated and passionate theoretical physicist, paved the way for some of the greatest discoveries within physics. His work reshaped the landscape of theoretical physics and motivated the development of astroparticle physics.

Not least, Kibble’s proposal of the Higgs Mechanism, the way in which particles acquire mass, was ground-breaking and proved to be a key feature in the Standard Model of particle physics.

Kibble was made a fellow of the Royal Society by the age of 48 and also received a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to physics.

The Isaac Newton Lecture, usually delivered by the winner of the award, will instead this year be a tribute to Kibble led by Professor Kellogg Stelle from Imperial College London.