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Higgs has universal appeal

HIS research has sparked the interest of scientists around the globe - to such an extent that more than 10,000 people have signed up for an online course to study the work of physicist Professor Peter Higgs.

The free seven-week course, titled The Discovery of the Higgs Boson, begins this week and is being run by Edinburgh University, where Mr Higgs worked when he developed the "God particle" theory.

Steven Camley's cartoon 

His proposal was that particles acquire mass by interacting with an all-pervading field spread throughout the universe. The more they interact, the more massive and heavy they become. A "boson" particle was needed to carry and transmit the effect of the field.

His concept sparked a 40-year hunt for the Higgs boson, which culminated in July 2012 when a team from the European nuclear research facility at Cern in Geneva announced the detection of a particle fitting the description.

The online course is being run on the FutureLearn platform, a partnership of organisations including 23 universities.

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