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Sussex physicists celebrate Nobel prize for Higgs boson scientists

The ATLAS team, from left: Stewart Martin-Haugh, Valeria Bartsch, Anthony Rose, Antonella De Santo, Fabrizio Salvatore and Tina Potter. LHC image courtesy of Maximilien Brice

Sussex physicists who helped to prove the existence of the so-called Higgs boson particle have joined the scientific community today (8 October) in congratulating Professor Peter Higgs, of the University of Edinburgh, and Professor François Englert, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, for being jointly awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The discovery of the new particle was announced by the ATLAS Collaboration and CMS experiments in July 2012.

Professor Antonella De Santo, whose University of Sussex team is involved in the ATLAS experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in Switzerland, said: “We were all thrilled when we heard the news. The theory that predicts the existence of a Higgs boson was developed nearly 50 years ago and when we finally made the discovery it marked one of the most significant breakthroughs in our understanding of the fundamental laws that govern the Universe.”

Professor De Santo and her team are working on an experiment that involves powerful beams of particles called protons being accelerated around the LHC’s 27km of underground tunnel, then crashing them together head-on at very high energies. In examining the products of these collisions, physicists expect to see major advances in their understanding of our Universe.

Professor Higgs and Professor Englert were awarded the prize "for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider”.

The Nobel  prize-giving ceremony will take place in Stockholm on 10 December.

By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Tuesday, 8 October 2013