Sakurai Prize awarded for Higgs boson theories

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The American Physical Society has awarded its 2010 J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics to six scientists for their contributions to theories on the origin of mass, including the key concepts of the Higgs boson and Higgs mechanism. The recipients are:

The full citation stated the 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 Higgs mechanism is a key element of the electroweak theory that forms part of the Standard Model of particle physics, and of many models that go beyond it. The papers that introduce this mechanism were published in the journal Physical Review Letters in 1964 and were each recognized as milestone papers by PRL’s 50th anniversary celebration.

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the Tevatron in the United States are searching for a particle, the Higgs boson, that will constitute evidence for this theory. Because of its importance this particle is often referred to as the "God Particle". The LHC, a vast scientific experiment to smash together sub-atomic particles, recently moved a step closer to its goal. On Friday physicists announced they had sent protons all the way round the 27 km ring beneath the FranceSwitzerland border, and on Monday announced the first successful collisions. This follows a major setback which shut down the collider for 14 months.