Higgs awarded Freedom of Edinburgh

Professor Peter Higgs was today awarded the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh.

Councillors voted unanimously at today's council meeting to recognise the acclaimed scientist and Nobel Prize winner for his lifetime’s work and contribution to theoretical physics.

The honour is granted to individuals who have distinguished themselves through their work or efforts, or to recognise the respect and high esteem in which they are held by the people of the City of Edinburgh.

The illustrious list of (living) Freemen includes the Queen, Prince Philip, Sean Connery, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi and Sir Chris Hoy.

Higgs has lived and worked in Edinburgh for over 50 years and it was here, in 1964, that he had his ‘big idea’ – an explanation of why the matter in the Universe has substance, or mass. His work theorised the existence of a new particle that has come to be known as the Higgs boson.

His discovery has earned him numerous awards, most recently the Nobel Prize for Physics and, earlier this year, the Edinburgh Medal. He was a recipient of the Edinburgh Award in 2011.

Lord Provost Donald Wilson said: “I had the pleasure of presenting Peter with the Edinburgh Medal on behalf of the Edinburgh International Science Festival earlier this year and I think it is absolutely right that we, the people of Edinburgh, recognise his immense contribution to science.

“His achievements with the University of Edinburgh are of global significance and this latest honour will be further evidence of the high esteem in which he is quite deservedly held, not just by his peers but by the people of the city he now calls home.”

Prof Higgs said: "I am extremely pleased to be offered the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh – the city that I have grown to love and has been my adopted home for almost all of my working life."

It is likely that the Professor will receive his award in a private ceremony hosted by the Lord Provost early next year.

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