Imperial said its professor is ‘equally deserving’ of Nobel Prize after Higgs handed award

Professor Peter Higgs, who has jointly won the Nobel Prize in physics. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Professor Peter Higgs, who has jointly won the Nobel Prize in physics. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Academics from Imperial College have lined up to congratulate Nobel Prize-winner Peter Higgs, but many are unhappy the work of its own professor has been played down.

After it was announced this morning the Swedish Academy had chosen to reward the prediction of the Higgs boson particle made back in 1964 with the prestigious Physics prize, the London university has claimed Tom Kibble’s part in the discovery should also be recognised.

The Nobel committee decided to give the prize to Mr Higgs and his Belgian colleague Francois Englert for their work 50 years ago, but Mr Kibble said despite his paper on the so called ‘God particle’ being published after theirs, it was ‘the most thorough and complete’.

In a statement the Emeritus Professor from Imperial said: “It is therefore no surprise that the Swedish Academy felt unable to include us, constrained as they are by a self-imposed rule that the Prize cannot be shared by more than three people.

“My sincere congratulations go to the two Prize winners, François Englert and Peter Higgs.”

Praise for the new Nobel winners also came from the head of Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London, Professor Jerome Gauntlett, who said their work will ‘be remembered as one of the great chapters of scientific discovery’.

He said: “Imperial is also proud of its involvement, including profound contributions by Tom Kibble, Abdus Salam and the experimental team at the LHC.”

Dr Oliver Buchmueller, a Senior Lecturer in High Energy Physics, said the contribution of Tom Kibble and his co-authors Guralnik and Hagen ‘are equally deserving’ of the award.

But he added it was ‘fantastic news’ Higgs and Englert had been rewarded for their work, echoing Professor Michael Duff, the university’s Abdus Salam Chair of Theoretical Physics, who said it is ‘richly deserved’.

Mr Duff added: “Their seminal contributions, along with those of Tom Kibble here at Imperial College, explaining how elementary particles acquire a mass, form a vital part of the Standard Model of particle physics, pioneered by Imperial Nobel Laureate, Abdus Salam.”

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