Reactions to Peter Higgs' death

The 'father' of the Higgs boson, British physicist Peter Higgs, died on Monday at the age of 94 at his home in Edinburgh (UK), according to a statement released today by the University of Edinburgh. Higgs was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013, along with François Englert, for having predicted in 1964 the existence of a new particle, the so-called Higgs boson. This particle was confirmed almost half a century later by experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.

09/04/2024 - 19:25 CEST
Peter Higgs

Peter Higgs has died aged 94. Author: University of Edinburgh.

Expert reactions

Gómez Cadenas- muerte Higgs EN

Juan José Gómez Cadenas

Ikerbasque Professor of Physics at the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC)

Science Media Centre Spain

My reaction, unsurprisingly, is one of restrained sadness. Peter was a great man and a great scientist. He made essential contributions to modern physics, which were recognised by our field very early on, but took a long time to be rewarded with a well-deserved Nobel Prize. Peter took this great recognition at the end of his career with calm and humour, as was typical of him. He was highly regarded by all, not only as a scientist, but also as a teacher, lecturer and an excellent person. He lived a long and very productive life, which is always a comfort. 


Fernando Broncano - muerte Higgs

Fernando Broncano

Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science and lecturer in the Department of Humanities: Philosophy, Language and Literature at the University Carlos III of Madrid

Science Media Centre Spain

I don't really know how to assess Higgs' significance from a philosophical point of view, beyond what all the media have already said, but I don't think his work can be described only by the boson, but also by his contribution to explaining what happens in the spontaneous breaking of symmetries, which introduces an element of contingency in the basic laws of nature, which are symmetrical.
Apart from that, of course, there is his contribution to the unification of forces and also to explaining how the features of our universe are generated in the very first moments of the Big Bang. The discovery of the particle at CERN was partly a relief for physicists and partly a disappointment, because otherwise they would have had to look for new explanations.


Peter Mathieson - muerte Higgs EN

Peter Mathieson

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh

Science Media Centre UK

Peter Higgs was a remarkable individual – a truly gifted scientist whose vision and imagination have enriched our knowledge of the world that surrounds us. His pioneering work has motivated thousands of scientists, and his legacy will continue to inspire many more for generations to come.


Alan Barr - muerte Higgs EN

Alan Barr

Professor of Physics at University of Oxford

Science Media Centre UK

What sad news.  

From the mind of Professor Higgs came ideas which have had a profound impact on our understanding of the universe, of matter and of mass. He proposed the existence of a field that pervades the entire universe, that mass to particles from electrons to top quarks.   

He was also a true gentleman, humble and polite, always giving due credit to others, and gently encouraging future generations of scientists and scholars.

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