Professor Peter Higgs CH FRS

Peter Higgs was a Nobel Prize-winning particle physicist who made invaluable contributions to our understanding of the Universe on the smallest scales. His work on fundamental particle interactions, especially those distinguished by the appearance of the so-called Higgs boson, inspired much of high energy physics research over recent decades.

Peter was most widely recognised for his 1964 papers on spontaneous symmetry breaking, which predicted the existence of a new kind of particle capable of giving all other particles mass. Eventually discovered in 2012 by researchers working at CERN, the search for the elusive Higgs boson made Peter a household name and sparked a new wave of interest in fundamental physics.

A fellow of numerous learned societies, Peter received many of the world's most prestigious scientific awards including the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics. In recognition of his contributions to science, he was appointed as Companion of Honour in the 2013 New Year Honours List.

Professor Peter Higgs CH FRS died on 8 April 2024.

Professional position

  • Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Edinburgh, University of Edinburgh

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics

    Mathematical and theoretical physics, Quantum theory, Elementary particle physics

  • Mathematics

    Applied mathematics and theoretical physics


  • Copley Medal

    For his fundamental contribution to particle physics with his theory explaining the origin of mass in elementary particles, confirmed by the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider.

  • Hughes Medal

    For their international contributions about the spontaneous breaking of fundamental symmetries in elementary-particle theory.

  • Nobel Prize in Physics

    Jointly with François Englert 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

  • Wolf Prize

    In the field of physics for pioneering work that has led to the insight of mass generation whenever a local gauge symmetry is realized asymmetrically in the world of sub-atomic particles.

Professor Peter Higgs CH FRS
Elected 1983

Credit: Peter Tuffy and University of Edinburgh