Plays down calls for Nobel with joke that he doesn’t have friends on the committee
Professor Peter Higgs, the British scientist who gave his name to the Higgs boson particle, has said it is “nice to be right sometimes” but shrugged off suggestions that he could be in line for a Nobel Prize as a result of the discovery of the “God particle”.
“It’s very nice to be right sometimes... it has certainly been a long wait,” he said when asked at a press conference in Edinburgh University whether he felt vindicated that his theory had finally been proved right.
Leading scientists, including Stephen Hawking, have suggested that he should get the Nobel Prize for his achievement, but the 83-year-old scientist played down the idea joking that he didn’t have friends on the Nobel committee.
Prof. Higgs declined to be drawn into a controversy over Nobel Prize rules under which the award for science cannot be shared by more than three people. Asked whether rules should be changed so that others who worked with him closely could share the Prize in the event it was given to him, he said: “It remains for the Nobel committee if they are interested in this result to see if they really have a problem.”
He said he had not contributed to theoretical physics since the mid 1980s as he had become “too old”. “I couldn’t, at that age, acquire sufficient new mathematical skills which were needed to contribute, so I stopped,” he said.
About his future plans, he said he was simply looking forward to continuing to enjoy his retirement.
His friend and colleague Alan Walker recounted how Prof. Higgs celebrated the discovery of Higgs Boson with just a can of beer. He said they were flying home from CERN in Geneva when he offered Prof. Higgs a glass of Prosecco sparkling wine to celebrate the occasion.
Prof. Higgs said he would “rather have a beer and popped a can of London Pride”.