Acclaimed physicist wins the 2011 Edinburgh Award

The winner of the 2011 Edinburgh Award is Professor Peter Higgs, renowned theoretical physicist and retired professor from The University of Edinburgh.

Professor Higgs will be presented with an engraved Loving Cup at a ceremony in early 2012 where previous award winners and young achievers from across the city will be invited to attend.

He will have a mould of his handprints taken, which will be engraved - and immortalised - on a flagstone in the City Chambers quadrangle.

Lord Provost George Grubb said: "The Edinburgh Award enables the people of Edinburgh to pay a lasting tribute to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the city through their work or achievements in recent years. I am delighted to present this year's award to Professor Peter Higgs whose proposal of the Higgs boson has not only made him an international success, but has also significantly advanced the study of particle physics.

"His work with the University of Edinburgh has put this city on an international stage and as such he has undoubtedly proven to be a most deserved winner of one of Edinburgh's most prestigious civic awards."

Professor Higgs's theory about the existence of the elusive particle - or boson - came in 1964, while walking in Edinburgh one weekend befor he wrote his seminal paper.

His work directly influenced the production of the Large Hadron Collider which was switched on three years ago at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva.

Professor Higgs was chosen as the winner of the 2011 Edinburgh Award by a judging panel chaired by the Lord Provost, with representatives from all political groups on the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council and Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.

First launched in 2007, the Award is a way for Edinburgh citizens to pay a lasting tribute to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the city through their achievements.

Timeline of Professor Peter Higgs' life:

  • 1929 Born in Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 1950 Awarded first class honours degree in Theoretical Physics at King's College London
  • 1954 Comes to the University of Edinburgh as a Royal Commmission for the Exhibition of 1851 Senior Student and stayed for a further year as Senior Research Fellow
  • 1960 Returns to Edinburgh as Lecturer in Mathematical Physics (promoted to Reader in 1970)
  • 1964 Publishes landmark research which defines what will become known as the Higgs boson
  • 1996 Becomes Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh
  • 1997 Awarded Dirac Medal and Prize for outstanding contribution to theoretical physics by the Institute of Physics
  • 1997 Awarded High Energy and Particle Physics prize by the European Physical Society
  • 2004 Awarded Wolf Prize in Physics by the Wolf Foundation
  • 2006 Retires from the University of Edinburgh
  • 2008 Large Hadron Collider switched on at CERN with the goal of confirming or rejecting the existence of the Higgs boson
  • 2010 Awarded JJ Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics by the American Physical Society

Previous recipients of the Edinburgh Award are:

  • Ian Rankin OBE [Presented 2007]
  • JK Rowling OBE [Presented 2008]
  • Sir Chris Hoy MBE [Presented 2009]
  • George Kerr CBE [Edinburgh Award for 2010, presented 2011]

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