Higgs boson: so who'll get the Nobel?

A victory has many fathers they say.

See subject.

Who’s your daddy, Higgs boson? :slight_smile:

Stephen Hawking thinks Peter Higgs should get it for predicting the particle. On the other hand, George Gamow predicted the CMB, but Penzias and Wilson won the Nobel for accidentally discovering it, and later John Mather and George Smoot won for measuring it.

Reported for possible forum change, as it seems to be a matter of opinion rather than factual.

Another complicating factor is that while Higgs got his name attached to the boson, three groups (totaling six physicists) came up with the idea independently. Unfortunately, a Nobel Prize can’t be shared among more than three people/organizations, so some of them will be SOL.

Have recent or past events regarding the Higgs Boson conferred great benefit on mankind?

Let’s just throw Jocelyn Bell in the list too for having the misfortune of being a grad student when she discovered pulsars.

Numerous physicists deserved the Nobel more than Penzias and Wilson,
who literally had no idea what they were looking at. They thought CMB
noises were being caused by pigeon shit on their antenna!

Ralph Alper predicted CMB around the same time as Gamov, and Robert Dicke
and James Peebles of Princeton University rediscovered CMB prediction, and
were about to look for it when they learned of the serendipitous discovery by
Penzias and Wilson not far away in Holmdel NJ.

That requirement may never have been in force for theoretical physics.

Nor should it be.

Relativity and Quantum Mechanics were decades away from practical
application when first discovered.

Fortunately, Alfred Nobel didn’t mention mankind in his will when creating the physics prize. It is to be awarded to whomever “shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics.” (Should Olympic golds go to the runners who have most benefited mankind, or to the ones who ran the fastest?)

Those were major advances in human knowledge, bestowing great benefit from the knowledge of their existence. Did the theorizing of the Higgs Boson, by Higgs or others do such thing, or have the recent tests to confirm those theories done that?

I agree it’s a tough standard to hold theoretical physicists to.

Well, surely, it is also a major advance in human knowledge… Why is that enough for the other theories, but not this?

How about Cafe Society?

On next season’s The Big Bang Theory, how many episodes will we get before Sheldon tries to take some credit?

I think antimatter would be a rough anology with the Higgs.

Antimatter was a necessity of nature which so to speak sprung from Quantum Mechanical equations
developed by Paul Dirac in the late 1920s. Antimatter’s discovery a few years later is considered the
first emperimental confirmation of QM.

Simiularly the Higgs is a necessity of nature predicted by the equations of the so-called Standard Model
of physics, a further, extensive QM development which describes the strong and electroweak forces
(but not gravity). The discovery of Higgs confirms the truth of the Standard Model in somewhat the same
way antimatter confirmed the truth of QM.

They may or may not have bestowed benefit, but that’s beside the point. Nobel didn’t make the Prize for advancements that had benefits to humanity. It’s for achievements that are important within the field of physics itself. If (obvious, immediate) benefits are required, entire subfields of pursuit would be disallowed (e.g., cosmology).

(It’s a separate discussion as to whether QM was seen as anything beyond a curiosity outside of the field of physics in 1918.)

Regarding the thread topic at hand: no one has mentioned the experimental effort. The prediction of the Higgs wasn’t the biggest theoretical leap we’ve had in the past century, but the discovery of the Higgs was pretty friggin’ tough. Of course, the experimental effort has even more people to sift through looking for appropriate prize recipients…

I was asking to find out if it surely is, because I didn’t know. colonial gives a pretty good answer above.

I believe he did specify great benefit to humanity. But that doesn’t mean it’s immediate and direct benefit. Nobels aren’t awarded every time a new atom is created. Some things are breakthroughs, others aren’t. And I did just want to find out an answer to that question. It sounds like it is greatly beneficial to human knowledge by confirming the Standard Model of model of physics, and establishing it as fact to an extremely high degree of certainty.

“Emperimental.” What a great portmanteau word: empirical and experimental. It would be great if it became part of standard vocabulary.

Perhaps, but what does it indicate or connote that “empirical” or “experimental” alone fail to?

Except that we haven’t yet, there is still a lot of uncertainty as wether the new particle that the LHC has found has the actual properties of the Higgs predicted by the SM. All we know so far is there is a new particle at about the right GeV.

Brian Cox is photogenic enough :wink:

Although his grasp of thermodynamics is a bit shaky…