Durham University honours Professor Peter Higgs at Ogden Centre’s 10th Anniversary
(19 September 2012)
The Ogden Centre, Durham University's internationally-renowned site for researching fundamental physics, marked its tenth anniversary with a series of lectures in the presence of Professor Peter Higgs.
Professor Higgs received a special presentation from Professor Chris Higgins, Durham University’s Vice-Chancellor. The presentation was an ornament in the shape of the Higgs potential designed by local artist Dawn Douglas.
Peter Higgs is one of the physicists whose pioneering work in the 1960s theorised the existence of the Higgs boson, the particle which generates masses for other elementary particles and without which the Universe that we know would be completely different.
In July, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, in Geneva, announced that they had found a new particle consistent with the properties of the Higgs boson. Experts at Durham's Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP), one of two Research Institutes housed in the Ogden Centre, have been providing the theory and analysis behind a number of experiments at the LHC.
Professor Higgs said: “It’s a pleasure to see that Durham University has developed so much and is clearly flourishing. It’s great that the Ogden Centre has brought particle physics and cosmology come together in this way. I’ve enjoyed the lectures so much and indeed learnt some fascinating things from the Cosmology talks. I was delighted to receive this award also.”
The IPPP’s Professor Nigel Glover said: "We are delighted to have Professor Higgs here for the tenth anniversary of the Ogden Centre. The recently announced discovery at CERN of a new particle compatible with the one proposed by Professor Higgs nearly 50 years ago is an incredible triumph. It closes a chapter in our understanding of the fundamental laws of nature, but it is not the end of the book. The next chapter promises to be even more exciting as we seek to understand exactly what has been discovered. We look forward to the IPPP playing its role in that during the coming second decade of the Ogden Centre's existence.”
The Ogden Centre was named after its benefactor, businessman and Durham physics graduate Sir Peter Ogden who also attended. At the foundation of the Ogden Centre, five questions about the universe were posed for examination. These topics Were the themes of the lectures at the event, presented by Professors Carlos Frenk, Shaun Cole, Nigel Glover, Silvia Pascoli and Martin Ward. The lectures covered the nature of dark matter, the nature of dark energy, the masses of elementary particles, the masses of neutrinos and their influence on the evolution of the universe and the origins of planets and life respectively.
Professor Carlos Frenk, Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC), also housed in the Ogden Centre, said: “The ICC carries out fundamental research to find out answers to some of the most basic questions about our Universe. Discovering what dark matter is, for example, remains one of the hottest problems in modern science simply because without it, the Universe as we know it would not exist. Ten years after the ICC was founded through the generous support of Sir Peter Ogden, we're getting closer all the time to solving this and other challenges. The ICC is leading the world in this fascinating area of human endeavour."