IT took tens of thousands of years for a homo sapien to theorise on the existence of a certain elementary particle, but only 50 years for that homo sapien to be recognised for his discovery with the highest prize in science.
The half-century time lapse between Peter Higgs describing the now-famous Higgs boson, and winning the Nobel Prize for Physics for it, is the mere blink of an eye in cosmic terms but it must have been an anxious wait for the 84-year-old retired Edinburgh University professor. The £6.2 bn Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, the most expensive attempt to settle an argument the world has seen, tested his theory about the existence of the particle and when it finally delivered proof positive earlier this year, Prof Higgs was moved to shed a discreet tear.
The prize, which Prof Higgs shares with Belgian physicist Francois Englert, is richly deserved and recognises a hugely important contribution to human understanding of the physical universe. To a lesser extent, it also honours Edinburgh University. Scotland's universities, with Edinburgh consistently at the forefront, have a long and illustrious tradition of scientific quest and discovery, a tradition that continues. Prof Higgs's Nobel Prize may not be Scotland's last.
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