An extended interview with the Nobel prize laureate. Peter Higgs tells Jim Al-Khalili that he failed to realise the full significance of the Higgs boson and to link it to the much celebrated Standard Model of Physics. He puts the oversight down to a string of missed opportunities, including one night at a physics summer camp when he chose to go to bed early.
Working alone in Edinburgh in the 1960s, Peter Higgs says he was considered "a bit of a crank... No-one wanted to work with me". In 1964, he predicted the possible existence of a new kind of boson but, at the time, there was little interest.
Three years later, the Higgs mechanism was shown to be central to the new Standard Model of Physics, which brings together three of the four fundamental forces of nature and has dominated physics ever since. Higgs met one of the key architects of the Standard Model several times, but they failed to realise they were working on the same thing.
The 1970s were an exciting time for particle p
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