Nobel-winning scientists honoured at graduation ceremony

Professors Peter Higgs and Francoise Englert during a press conference ahead of the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm. [© Victoria Henriksson/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences]

Celebrated Nobel laureates Professors Peter Higgs and Francois Englert are to receive honorary degrees at a ceremony in Edinburgh this weekend.

Professor Higgs, of the University of Edinburgh, and Professor Englert, of Université Libre de Bruxelles, are to receive doctorates in science from one another’s institutions, at a graduation ceremony in the University of Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall.

Professors Higgs and Englert won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013 for independently discovering a mechanism that enables elementary particles to acquire mass.

The new subatomic particle predicted by the mechanism, the Brout-Englert-Higgs boson, was confirmed to exist in 2012 following ground-breaking experiments at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva.

At the event, Professor Sir Tom Kibble from Imperial College London, who also developed the theory of the mechanism, will receive a Royal Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director-General of CERN, will be awarded an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh.

At the ceremony, Professor Higgs will be awarded the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh by the Lord Provost, the Rt Hon Donald Wilson.