An example of simulated data modeled for the CMS particle detector on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Here, following a collision of two protons, a Higgs boson is produced, decaying into two jets of hadrons and two electrons. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
Two scientists who theorized the "God particle" back in 1964 were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday.
François Englert, 80, of Belgium and Englishman Peter Higgs, 84, received the prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for theoretically discovering the subatomic particle, leaving several other researchers out in the cold, according to The Washington Post.
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American physicist Gerald Guralnik wrote an account of his work in 1964. The Brown University professor was disappointed on his own behalf, as well as, for his two collaborators, Carl Hagen and Tom Kibble.
"It stings a little," he told The Washington Post. "I would be lying if I didn't say I'm a bit disappointed. All in all, it's a great day for science. I'm really proud to have been associated with this work that has turned out to be so important."
The announcement of the prize confirmed the importance of the Higgs boson discovery, which was made by mostly younger experimentalists last summer. The discovery made at the CERN laboratory outside Geneva, Switzerland, brought scientists a step closer to understanding how the world is constructed.
"According to the Standard Model, everything, from flowers and people to stars and planets, consists of just a few building blocks: matter particles," the Nobel Prize press release said. "These particles are governed by forces mediated by force, particles that make sure everything works as it should."
The Higgs boson, named "the God particle" by scientist Leon Lederman, originates from an invisible field that fills up all of space and without which the world would not exist.
The theory was confirmed through CERN's particle collider, the Large Hadron Collider. Two research groups, each comprising around 3,000 scientists, managed to extract the Higgs particle from billions of particles in the machine.
While Higgs could not be reached by the Nobel committee, he released a statement through the University of Edinburgh's website.
"I am overwhelmed to receive this award and thank the Royal Swedish Academy," Higgs said. "I would also like to congratulate all those who have contributed to the discovery of this new particle and to thank my family, friends and colleagues for their support. I hope this recognition of fundamental science will help raise awareness of the value of blue-sky research."