He shares the prize with Francois Englert of Belgium for their work in the “theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles”.
The mechanism predicts a particle — the Higgs boson — which was discovered by a team from the European nuclear research facility (Cern) in Geneva, Switzerland, last year.
In a statement released through Edinburgh University, where Higgs, 84, is an emeritus professor, he said: “I am overwhelmed to receive this award and thank the Royal Swedish Academy.
“I would also like to congratulate all those who have contributed to the discovery of this new particle and to thank my family, friends and colleagues for their support. I hope this recognition of fundamental science will help raise awareness of the value of blue-sky research.”
He hit upon the concept of a “God particle” during a walk in the Cairngorms national park in Scotland in 1964 when he started to consider the existence of a particle that gives matter its mass. He wrote two scientific papers on his theory and was eventually published in the Physical Review Letters journal, sparking a 40-year hunt for the Higgs boson. The announcement was made at a Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences ceremony in Stockholm.