Peter Higgs unveils plaque tribute

Professor Peter Higgs has unveiled a blue plaque in his honour at the University. The installation marks the site where Nobel Laureate Professor Higgs first devised his seminal theory on the nature of mass more than 50 years ago.

The theoretical physicist was a researcher at the University in 1964 when he predicted a sub-atomic particle, now known as the Higgs boson, which enables other particles to acquire mass. His idea was borne out by experiments almost 50 years later, in 2012, at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. Professor Higgs was awarded a Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013 for his work.

It is truly historic to celebrate such a seminal theory in physics with its author, Peter Higgs, in the building where he first wrote it more than 50 years ago, and in the company of some of his colleagues from that time.
Prof. Richard Kenway, Vice Principal, University of Edinburgh


The plaque, at Roxburgh Street in Edinburgh, is sponsored by the Institute of Physics and Edinburgh City Council. It notes that Professor Higgs ‘Wrote the papers which predicted the Higgs boson in this building in 1964’.

Professor Higgs unveiled the plaque following a ceremony at the University at which he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He spent a sabbatical year at the US University from 1965-1966. During this time he wrote an academic paper that would form the basis of experiments at CERN.

Degree tribute

His honorary Doctor of Science degree was conferred by the University of North Carolina’s Chancellor, Professor Carol L Folt, for ‘outstanding accomplishment in the field of theoretical physics, especially his fundamental work on the origin of mass’. The event was hosted by the University of Edinburgh’s Vice Principal Professor Richard Kenway and attended by students from UNC who are currently studying at Edinburgh.  

Nearly half a century ago, Professor Higgs found himself at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducting revolutionary work in physics and his work continues to inspire us. His research had a profound impact on the field of fundamental physics, and his example motivates our faculty and students to pursue their passions and make their own significant mark on their discipline.
Prof. Carol L Folt, Chancellor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill