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Nobel Prize in Physics and the Higgs Boson

Gloria Machado León 9 octubre, 2013

The Nobel Prize in Physics that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards every October to scientists that stand out due to its contributions in the field of Physics, has been granted this 2013 to the Fathers of the famous Higgs boson : the Scottish Peter Higgs and his Belgian colleague François Englert.

Higgs and Englert deserved the recognition for predicting, in an independent way, the existence of that evasive particle that gives mass to the rest of the particles and reaffirm the Standard Model of Physics. Without the existence of that boson, the universe would not exist in such a way we know it.

Everyone who merits this honor, as laid down in Alfred Nobel’s will, in 1895, for those who achieve remarkable contributions in the fields of Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Peace, Philosophy or Medicine, receives a medal, a diploma and an economic reward which has been changing throughoutthe years.

The Physics Nobel Prize has been conquered by 193 people, among them, 191 men and only two women, Marie Curie and her daughter. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, from Germany was the first physicist to receive it in 1901. During six years (1916, 1931, 1934, 1940, 1941 and 1942) it was not granted: sometimes because the prize was just not awarded, other times due to the world war situation that forced several members of the committee to live in the exile.

Names like Max Planck, Albert A. Michelson, J. Thomson,  Henri Becquerel, Pierre and Marie Curie, Hendrik A. Lorentz y Pieter Zeeman, enhance the list of men and women who have studied the physical phenomena considered to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

It has been more than a century in which achievements like the discovering of Röntgen rays, the radioactivity, the theoretical and experimental researches about the conduction of the electricity through the gases, the contributions to the wireless communication development, the discovering of the cosmic radiation, the invention and development of the holographic method, the development of the laser electroscope and the methods to cool and catch atoms with laser light keep helping the development in the science and technology that benefits the human being itself.

Hence the different merits and acknowledgments to scientists like the Polish Marie Curie and the German Albert Einstein.

Marie Curie, the first one to accomplish a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 along with her husband Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel, is as well the only woman that has achieved the laurel more than once, since she got one prize in Chemistry in 1911.

Marie Curie was a short woman, slim, aged prematurely due to the long exposureto the radiations. First and foremostshe was a scientist, quality which made her earn the respect and admiration by all her colleagues that never used the fact of her being a woman to make any concession.

The German Albert Einstein, considered as the most important, well known and popular scientist in the 20thcentury, was the one who described the photoelectrical effect phenomenon, which made him win the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.

Einstein wrote four fundamental articles about the low and high scales Physics in 1905. Those articles explained the Brownian movement and the photoelectrical effect. At the same time he was developing the special relativity and the equivalence mass-energy. These are known as the articles of the Miraculous Year.

Original text byAna González Goicochea on Octuber 9th, 2013

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