Sunday, November 22, 2009

In recognition for the discovery of the Higgs Boson and Higgs mechanism, the American Physical Society has awarded the 2010 J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics to Drs. C. R. Hagen, University of Rochester; G. S. Guralnik, Brown University; Tom Kibble, Imperial College London; Robert Brout, Université Libre de Bruxelles; François Englert, Université Libre de Bruxelles; and Peter Higgs, University of Edinburgh, Emeritus.

The 2010 prize was awarded “For elucidation of the properties of spontaneous symmetry breaking in four-dimensional relativistic gauge theory and of the mechanism for the consistent generation of vector boson masses.” The J. J. Sakurai Prize will be presented at the APS 2010 meeting in Washington, DC at a special Ceremonial session in February 2010.

The mechanism is the key element of the electroweak theory that forms part of the standard model of particle physics, and of many models, such as the Grand Unified Theory, that go beyond it. The papers that introduce this mechanism were published in Physical Review Letters in 1964 and were each recognized as milestone papers by PRL’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Presently, Fermilab’s Tevatron and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN are searching for a particle that will constitute evidence for this significant discovery. This particle is often referred to as the “God Particle”. The Large Hadron Collider, a vast scientific experiment to smash together sub-atomic particles, moved a step closer to its goal tonight. Physicists announced they had sent protons all the way round the 27 km ring beneath the France–Switzerland border, for the first time since a major failure 14 months ago.