90th birthday celebrations for Professor Peter Higgs

Prof Peter Higgs
Prof Peter Higgs

Professor Peter Higgs will celebrate his 90th birthday in May this year, and to mark this occasion, the School of Physics and Astronomy is planning a year of special events aimed at scientists, current students, alumni and the wider public.

We kicked off the series of events in January with a public talk by Nima Arkani-Hamed, renowned Professor of Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and Director of the Center for Future High Energy Physics.  This spectacular talk entitled “The End of Spacetime” challenged a number of standard physics principles.

At the end of January, we hosted the first “Beyond the Lab” event to bring together leading researchers and experts from industry.  The event enabled valuable connections to be established and paved the way for future collaboration. It was held at The Higgs Centre for Innovation, which was established by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and University of Edinburgh after the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012. 

In March, we held the Inaugural “Higgs Lecture”, which was made possible through the generous support of Walter Nimmo.  A varied audience, from school pupils to senior professors heard from speaker Professor Gian Giudice, head of the Theory Group at CERN and prize-winning author. 

We are currently running a birthday card competition which is open to all nursery and primary school children in Scotland.  Studies show that children make up their minds about which subjects they like and dislike at a very young age, and through this competition we hope to raise awareness of physics and build on the local connection to Peter Higgs.  Entries will be judged by Suzanne Higgs (local artist and Peter Higgs’ daughter-in-law), Christophe Englert (particle physicist and childrens’ author) and Lily Asquith (particle physicist and outreach expert).  We can’t wait to see the entries! 

We have a variety of further events planned for the rest of the year including an alumni event in the summer, a day of celebration at the end of September and a poster competition for secondary school pupils.

We trust that these will be fitting celebrations to mark this special year for Peter Higgs.