Peter Higgs: Curriculum Vitae

Peter Ware Higgs CH DSc PhD MSc BSc FRS FRSE FInstP

Peter Higgs was born on 29 May 1929 in the Elswick district of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. He graduated in 1950 with First Class Honours in Physics from King’s College London. A year later, he was awarded an MSc and began his research, initially under the supervision of Charles Coulson and subsequently under Christopher Longuet-Higgins. In 1954, he was awarded a PhD for a thesis entitled 'Some Problems in the Theory of Molecular Vibrations', work which signaled the start of his life-long interest in the application of symmetry to physical systems.

From 1953-1954 In 1953 Peter was awarded a two-year Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Senior Studentship, spending the first year of 1953-54 at Kings College London and the spending the second year of 1954-1955 at the University of Edinburgh. He remained in Edinburgh for a further year as a Senior Research Fellow. He returned to London in 1956 to take up an ICI Research Fellowship, spending a year at University College and a little over a year at Imperial College, before taking up an appointment as Temporary Lecturer in Mathematics at University College. In October 1960 Peter Higgs returned to Edinburgh, taking up a lectureship in Mathematical Physics at the Tait Institute of Mathematical Physics. He was promoted to Reader in 1970, became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1974 and was promoted to a Personal Chair of Theoretical Physics in 1980. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1983 and Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 1991. He retired in 1996, becoming Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh. 

Peter Higgs’ contribution to physics has been recognised by numerous academic honours: Hughes Medal of the Royal Society (1981, shared with Tom Kibble), Rutherford Medal of the Institute of Physics (1984, also shared with Tom Kibble), Saltire Society & Royal Bank of Scotland Scottish Science Award (1990), Royal Society of Edinburgh James Scott Prize Lectureship (1993), Paul Dirac Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics (1997), High Energy and Particle Physics Prize of the European Physical Society (1997, shared with Robert Brout and François Englert), Royal Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2000), Wolf Prize in Physics (2004, shared with Robert Brout and François Englert), Stockholm Academy of Sciences Oskar Klein Memorial Lecture and Medal (2009), American Physical Society J J Sakurai Prize (2010), (shared with Robert Brout, François Englert, Gerry Guralnik, Carl Hagen and Tom Kibble), Royal Society of Edinburgh unique Higgs Medal (2012), Nonino Prize 'Man of Our Time' (2013), Edinburgh International Science Festival Edinburgh Medal (2013) (shared with CERN), Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research (2013) (shared with François Englert and CERN), Galileo Galilei Prize (2014) and Royal Society Copley Medal (2015).

In the 2013, New Year Honours List he became a Member of the Order of Companions of Honour.

He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with François Englert in 2013.

He received honorary degrees from the Universities of Bristol (1997), Edinburgh (1998), Glasgow (2002), Swansea (2008), King's College London (2009), University College London (2010), University of Cambridge (2012), Heriot-Watt University (2012), SISSA Trieste Italy (2013),  University of Durham (2013), University of Manchester (2013), University of St Andrews (2014), Free University of Brussels (2014), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2015), Queen’s University Belfast (2015) and Trinity College Dublin (2016).

He was awarded the Edinburgh Award for his outstanding contribution to the city (2011), and the Freedom the Cities of Bristol (2013), Newcastle (2014) and Edinburgh (2014).

Date and Place of Birth

29 May 1929 at Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumbria, United Kingdom

Childhood

• Birmingham 1930-1941

• Bristol 1941-1946

Secondary Education

• Halesowen Grammar School, Worcestershire 1940-1941

• Cotham Grammar School, Bristol 1941-1946

• City of London School 1946-1947

University Education

• King’s College, University of London 1947-1954

Degrees

• BSc (First Class Honours) in Physics 1950

• MSc 1951

• PhD 1954

Professional Career

• Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Senior Student

–  King’s College London 1953-1954

–  University of Edinburgh 1954-1955

• Senior Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh 1955-1956

• ICI Research Fellow, University of London

–  University College 1956-1957

–  Imperial College 1957-Dec 1958

• Temporary Lectureship in Mathematics, University College Jan 1959-1960

• Lecturer in Mathematical Physics, University of Edinburgh 1960-1970

• (On leave University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) (1965-1966)

• Reader in Mathematical Physics, University of Edinburgh 1970-1980

• (On leave at CERN, Geneva) (Oct-Dec 1976)

• Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Edinburgh 1980-1996

• Professor Emeritus, University of Edinburgh 1996 -  

Fellowships

• Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) 1974

• Fellow of the Royal Society, London (FRS) 1983

• Fellow of the Institute Of Physics (FInstP) 1991

• Fellow of King's College London 1998

• Honorary Fellow of the Institute Of Physics 1999

• Fellow of the University of Swansea 2008

• Honorary Fellow of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts 2013

• Honorary Member of the Saltire Society 2013

• Honorary Fellow of the Science Museum London 2013

Prizes

• Hughes Medal, Royal Society (with T W B Kibble) 1981

• Rutherford Medal, Institute of Physics (with T W B Kibble) 1984

• Scottish Science Award, Saltire Society and Royal Bank of Scotland 1990

• James Scott Prize Lectureship, Royal Society of Edinburgh (delivered April 1995) 1993

• Paul Dirac Medal and Prize, Institute of Physics 1997

• High Energy and Particle Physics Prize, European Physical Society (with R Brout, F Englert) 1997

• Royal Medal, Royal Society of Edinburgh 2000

• Wolf Prize in Physics (with R Brout and F Englert) 2004

• Oskar Klein Memorial Lecture and Medal, Stockholm Academy of Sciences 2009

• J J Sakurai Prize, American Physical Society (with R Brout, F Englert, G S Guralnik, C R Hagen and T W B Kibble) 2010

• Higgs Medal, Royal Society of Edinburgh 2012

• Nonino Prize 'Man of Our Time' Prize 2013

• Edinburgh Medal of the Edinburgh International Science Festival (with CERN) 2013

• Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research (with F Englert and CERN) 2013

• Nobel Prize in Physics (with F Englert) 2013

• Galileo Galilei Prize 2014

• Copley Medal, Royal Society 2015

Honorary Degrees

• DSc University of Bristol 1997

• DSc University of Edinburgh 1998

• DSc University of Glasgow 2002

• DSc King’s College London 2009

• DSc University College London 2010

• DSc University of Cambridge 2012

• DSc Heriot-Watt University 2012

• PhD SISSA, Trieste 2013

• DSc University of Durham 2013

• DSc University of Manchester 2013

• DSc University of St Andrews 2014

• DSc Free University of Brussels (ULB) 2014

• DSc University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2015

• DSc Queen's University Belfast 2015

• DSc Trinity College Dublin 2016

Other Awards

• Companion of Honour in New Year Honours List 2012/13

• Edinburgh Award, City of Edinburgh 2013

• Freedom of the City of Bristol 2013

• Freedom of the City of Newcastle 2014

• Freedom of the City of Edinburgh 2014

Publications

• “Theoretical Determination of Electron Density in Organic Molecules” (with C A Coulson, S L Altmann and N H March) Nature 168 1039 (1951)

• “Perturbation Method for the Calculation of Molecular Vibration Frequencies I” J. Chem. Phys. 21 1131 (1953)

• “A Method for Computing Zero-Point Energies” J. Chem. Phys. 21 1330 (1953)

• “Vibration Spectra of Helical Molecules” Proc. Roy. Soc. A220 472 (1953)

• “Vibrational Modifications of the Electron Density in Molecular Crystals I” Acta. Cryst. 6 232 (1953)

•  “Perturbation Method for the Calculation of Molecular Vibration Frequencies II” J. Chem. Phys. 23 1448 (1955)

• “Perturbation Method for the Calculation of Molecular Vibration Frequencies III” J. Chem. Phys. 23 1450 (1955)

• “Vibrational Modifications of the Electron Density in Molecular Crystals II” Acta. Cryst. 8 99 (1955)

• “A Method for Calculating Thermal Vibration Amplitudes from Spectroscopic Data” Acta. Cryst. 8 619 (1955)

• “Vacuum Expectation Values as Sums over Histories” Nuovo Cimento (10) 4 1262 (1956)

• “On Four-Dimensional Isobaric Spin Formalisms” Nuclear Physics 4 1262 (1957)

• “Integration of Secondary Constraints in Quantized General Relativity” Phys. Rev. Lett. 1 373 (1958)

• “Integration of Secondary Constraints in Quantized General Relativity” Phys. Rev. Lett. 3 66 (1959)

• “Quadratic Lagrangians and General Relativity” Nuovo Cimento (10) 11 816 (1959)

• “Broken Symmetries, Massless Particles and Gauge Fields” Physics Letters 12 132 (1964)

• “Broken Symmetries and the Masses of Gauge Bosons” Phys. Rev. Letters. 13 508 (1964)

• “Spontaneous Symmetry Breakdown without Massless Bosons” Phys. Rev. 145 1156 (1966)

• “Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking” two lectures at the 14th Scottish Universities Summer School in Physics (1973). Published in “Phenomenology of Particles at High Energy” R L Crawford, R Jennings (eds.) Academic Press (1974) ISBN 9780121971502

• “Dynamical Symmetries in a Spherical Geometry I” J. Phys. A12 309 (1979)

• “SBGT and All That”, International Conference "50 Years of Weak Interactions from the Fermi Theory to the W" Wingspread, Racine, Wisconsin (29 May-1 June 1984). Published in the conference proceedings by University of Wisconsin at Madison and reproduced in AIP. Conf. Proc. 300:159-163 (1994)

• “Inventing an Elementary Particle”, INFN Eloisatron Project 9th Workshop “Higgs Particles - Physics Issues and Experimental Searches in High-energy Collisions”, Erice, Italy (15-26 Jul 1989). Published in "Higg(s) Particle(s): Physics Issues and Experimental Searches in High-Energy Collisions" A Ali (ed.) Ettore Majorana International Science Series 50 1-5 Plenum Press (1990) ISBN 9780306435898

• “Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking 25 Years Ago”, 26th International Conference on Subnuclear Physics “Physics up to 200 TeV”, Erice, Italy (16-24 Jul 1990). Published in "Physics up to 200TeV" A Zichichi (ed.) The Subnuclear Series 28 439-444 Plenum Press (1991) ISBN 9780306439353

• Panel Session “Spontaneous Breaking of Symmetry” (with L M Brown, R Brout, T Y Cao, Y Nambu) 3rd International Symposium on the History of Particle Physics “The Rise of the Standard Model” (1992): published in “The Rise of the Standard Model”, L Hoddesdon, L M Brown, M Riordan, M Dresden (eds.) Cambridge University Press, (1997) ISBN 978052157165

• “My Life as a Boson: The Story of ‘The Higgs“ Inaugural Conference of the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics “2001 A Spacetime Odyssey” Ann Arbor, Michigan (21-25 May 2002). Published in "2001 A Spacetime Odyssey" M J Duff, J T Liu (eds.) World Scientific (2002) ISBN 9789810248062 and reproduced in Int. J. Mod. Phys. A17S1 86-88 (2002)

• “Prehistory of the Higgs Boson” Comptes Rendus Physique 8 970-972 (2007)

• “Evading the Goldstone Theorem” Rev. Mod. Phys. 86 851 (2014)

• “Evading the Goldstone Theorem” Annalen der Physik 526 211 (2014)

Updated 11 March 2017

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