Notable alumni: Peter Higgs

Rosalind Franklin


Theoretical Physicist

Peter Higgs (Physics, 1950; MSc, 1952; PhD, 1954) is the theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate best known for his prediction of the existence of the Higgs boson. He is a Fellow of King's and a triple alumnus, having taken a bachelor’s, a master’s and a doctorate at the College in the 1950s.

In 1964, Peter postulated the existence of the Higgs field and its associated particle, the Higgs boson. The Higgs field forms a part of the Standard Model of particle physics, which gives a framework for our current understanding of fundamental forces and classifies all known elementary particles. Under the Standard Model, mass is understood to be the result of particles interacting with the Higgs field and the mechanism for this interaction is the Higgs boson.

The importance of this particle made it the primary object of enquiry for Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research’s in Geneva (known as CERN). In July 2012, the discovery of a new particle was announced. Since then the particle has been shown to be the Higgs boson. Its discovery is considered strong evidence for the Standard Model.

Peter received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013, shared with François Englert. He was appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour in 2013 and received the Copley Medal, the oldest scientific prize in the world, in 2015.

Did you know? When Peter first submitted his theory postulating the Higgs Boson to be published it was rejected as of being ‘of no obvious relevance to physics.’