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Francois Englert and Peter W. Higgs Awarded Nobel Prize For Boson Discovery 83

Posted by timothy
from the now-brew-some-boson-tea dept.
The 2013 Nobel season is underway. Reader rtoz writes "Francois Englert and Peter W. Higgs won the 2013 Nobel Prize For Physics. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the two scientists for the 'theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles.'" Update: 10/08 13:18 GMT by T : More Nobel news: The New York Times reports that "Three Americans won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for discovering the machinery that regulates how cells transport major molecules in a cargo system that delivers them to the right place at the right time." The three are James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman; and Dr. Thomas C. Südhof, of Yale, UC Berkeley, and Stanford, respectively.
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Francois Englert and Peter W. Higgs Awarded Nobel Prize For Boson Discovery

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  • by laejoh (648921) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:52AM (#45068823)
    The Goddamn Particle can now safely be renamed into The Belgium Particle :)
  • Who's this Higgs boso?

  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:54AM (#45069403) Homepage

    and simply another political stunt by the Nobel committee. Higgs did not want the award. There were at least five researchers all with equally significant contributions to the eventual theory. Yet because the award can only go to at most three, they decided to drop the other three researchers (two alive). Some even claim the total should be six. One wonders if they had called the presumed particle "dog" whether Higgs would have been awarded the prize.

    This is most definitely a case where giving no prize was more appropriate. They could even recognize the significance of the research by public statement and lament that it would be unfair to try to separate this group into winners and losers. But the committee better figure something out because this kind of problem is going to be the norm, not the exception. The age of one or two scientists making such an outsized contribution to standout from the rest of their (or other) research groups is over.

    • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @10:05AM (#45069527)

      All six should show up in Stockholm, accept the award together and explain why. That should give the Nobel committee a hint that things need updating.

      • by Pikewake (217555)
        I'm sure the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Nobel Committee appreciate your input. The intent and letter of Nobel's will might still be a bit more important to them, so don't be disappointed if they won't implement your updates immediately.
        This is an award, not a paycheck or a sports trophy. If someone who is awarded a prize doesn't want it, they're free to refuse. If someone who thinks they deserve one doesn't get it... tough luck.
        • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @10:48AM (#45070035) Homepage

          I guess you never read the will?

          The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.

          So they have already moved from the person to the "up to three" persons.

          • by Pikewake (217555)
            Of course you're right.
            I was sarcastic in both directions. The organizations responsible for the Nobel prize are not known to be overly flexible, and I thought it was funny to think that they would update the award because of a protest at the ceremonies, especially in comparison to the excellent points made by Lawrence_Bird in the first post.
            I fail at snark. Sorry!
      • In this case, as the number is relatively small, that would probably work. Further, the two winners could establish a trust to accept their monetary price and split it out among the larger group. In any event, Nobel needs to figure out a way to handle large(r) groups. Perhaps a "group" category that gets the recognition but no monetary prize.

        • by Pikewake (217555)
          Right now "larger groups" are handled by security at the door.
          Since members of the Swedish government and the royal family attend the ceremony I think crashing the party might prove a bit difficult. ;)
      • The Nobel committee doesn't care. Hell, they thoroughly enjoy giving the middle finger to the rest of us. You didn't figure that out when Kissinger got the Prize in 1973? You surely should have gotten the message with FUCKING YASSER ARAFAT got the Prize in 1994. WTF?
    • by the gnat (153162)

      But the committee better figure something out because this kind of problem is going to be the norm, not the exception. The age of one or two scientists making such an outsized contribution to standout from the rest of their (or other) research groups is over.

      I certainly agree with that, and there are many other instances where three was at least one too few - Doug Prasher comes to mind, and also the prize for ribosome structure where they easily could have picked out a half-dozen people whose contributions

  • Get a load of my Higgs Field Nullifier gun!
  • Sorry to be picky, but bosons were 'discovered' and named a LONG time ago, maybe even before those guys were born.
    The title should not say 'boson', is should specify 'HIGGS boson'. (I don't care about the capitalization.)

    Just imagine if there was a title like "The theory of Gravity has been proven invalid", when you really meant "The theory of Modified Gravity has been proven invalid".
    See, that one word makes a big difference, STOP SCREWING UP A SIMPLE TITLE !
    By the way, as far as I know, that theory hasn't
  • For a moment I thought it said "bacon discovery" and got really excited.

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." -- Albert Einstein

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