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From ancient Greece to Nobel prize: a Higgs
8 October 2013
A timeline of particle physics up to Tuesday's
Englert and Robert Brout of the Free University of
Nobel nod for the theorists behind the Higgs boson Brussels, followed by British physicist Peter Higgs,
and then the US-British team of Dick Hagen,
Gerald Guralnik and Tom Kibble.
5th century BC: Greek philosopher Democritus
suggests the Universe consists of empty space as - Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig of the
United States propose that protons and neutrons
well as invisible and indivisible particles called
are comprised of quarks.
1974: The Standard Model of physics is devised: a
theory that everything in the Universe is made up of
12 building-block particles governed by four
fundamental forces. The theory cannot work
without the Higgs boson conferring mass on matter,
1897: The electron is discovered by Britain's
as the fundamental particles by their very nature do
Joseph Thomson, who later proposes a "plum
pudding" model of the atom. He suggests the atom not have mass of their own.
is a slightly positive sphere with raisin-like
1977-2000: A flurry of discoveries strengthens the
electrons inside that have a negative charge.
Standard Model hypothesis, including the existence
of several quarks and leptons (the two types of
1899-1919: New Zealand physicist Ernest
fundamental particles), the tau neutrino and W and
Rutherford identifies the atomic nucleus, the
Z bosons that help carry the "weak" force.
proton, and alpha and beta particles.
1802: John Dalton, a Quaker-educated English
physicist and chemist, lays the groundwork for
modern atomic theory.
2008: The European Organisation for Nuclear
Research (CERN) starts up the Large Hadron
Collider (LHC), the world's biggest particle
1932: The neutron, similar to the proton but with no smasher.
electrical charge, is discovered by James
July 4, 2012: CERN announces it has discovered a
Chadwick of Britain. The first antiparticle, the
particle that resembles the Higgs. New data
positron (the mirror particle to the electron), is
analysed since then has given rise to increasing
discovered by American Carl Anderson.
scientific certainty that the discovery is indeed the
1934: Italy's Enrico Fermi postulates the existence elusive "God particle", as the boson is also known.
of the neutrino (Italian for "little neutral one"), a
neutral-charge partner to the electron. The theory October 8, 2013: Higgs and Englert are awarded
the Nobel Prize in Physics for their conception of
is confirmed in 1959.
the particle.
1950s: The invention of the particle accelerator
leads to a surge in discoveries of sub-atomic
© 2013 AFP
1920s: Advances in quantum theory, about the
behaviour of matter at the atomic level.
1964: Within months of each other, six physicists
publish the theory of a subatomic particle providing
mass to matter. First to publish were Francois
APA citation: From ancient Greece to Nobel prize: a Higgs timeline (2013, October 8) retrieved 18 June
2017 from
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