François Englert, Rolf Heuer (CERN 's Director General) and Peter Higgs at the press conference held in Aula Magna. Photo: Abha Eli Phoboo
François Englert, Rolf Heuer (CERN 's Director General) and Peter Higgs at the press conference held in Aula Magna. Photo: Abha Eli Phoboo
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has chosen to award this year's Nobel Prize in Physics to François Englert, Université Libre de Bruxelles, and Peter W. Higgs, University of Edinburgh "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".

Theory confirmed at CERN in 2012

In 1964 François Englert and Peter W. Higgs proposed the theory independently of each other  (Englert together with his now deceased colleague Robert Brout). Not until 2012 were their ideas  confirmed through the discovery of a so-called Higgs particle at the CERN laboratory outside Geneva, Switzerland. CERN’s particle collider, LHC (Large Hadron Collider), is possibly the largest and the most complex machine ever built. Two research groups of around 3,000 scientists each were able to extract the Higgs particle from billions of particle collisions in the LHC.
"When the Higgs boson was detected by the ATLAS and CMS experiments last year, the theory proposed  by Brout, Englert and Higgs – called the BEH mechanism – was confirmed as an accurate description of nature. An important consequence of the theory is that we can understand how particles obtain mass, but equally important is that the mechanism is absolutely necessary for the so-called Standard Model of elementary particles to work mathematically," says Professor Sten Hellman, one of the physicists at Stockholm University working with the ATLAS experiment at CERN.

Higgs and Englert principal names at Stockholm conference

During the summer this year, the leading conference on elementary particles - EPS HEP 2013 – was held in Stockholm, with over 700 participants. The conference began at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, before moving over to Stockholm University's Aula Magna for the larger plenary sessions. 
The event began with a ceremony in which the European Physical Society's section for Particle Physics awarded its grand prize to the experiments that outlined the discovery of the Higgs Boson. The prize was awarded to Peter Higgs and Francois Englert who both predicted the Higgs particle. The award ceremony was followed by a lecture in which Peter Higgs gave the background to how the theory of the BEH mechanism was developed.

Stockholm University researchers active at CERN

Several researchers at the Department of Physics, Stockholm University, are actively engaged with the ATLAS experiment, one of the two experiments that confirmed the existence of the Higgs particle. Researchers at the Department of Physics have build parts of the detector, and have developed analytical tools used to make the discovery. All are co-authors of the publications, which in 2012, revealed the discovery of the Higgs Boson.
"At Stockholm University, we have long worked to build up the experiment and develop analysis methods to understand the data that the experiment produces. For us it is of course great to have been involved and shown that BEH mechanism is correct, which led to the Nobel Prize. Now we look forward to making even more great discoveries when data collection begins again in 2015," says Sten Hellman.

Video interview: ”Is physics changing our understanding of the world?”



Peter Jenni - newly appointed honorary doctorate

Peter Jenni, one of the founders of the ATLAS experiment, received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Science on Sept. 27, 2013. 
Research on Astroparticle & Elementary Particle Physics at Stockholm University: