By Hannah Fry
5:13 PM PDT, October 8, 2013
While two theoretical physicists celebrated their Nobel Prize win for predicting the discovery of the Higgs boson, often referred to as the "God" particle, scientists at UC Irvine rejoiced in their contribution to the research that led to the accolade, according to a UCI news release.
The Higgs boson is the reason particles that make up matter have mass. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday bestowed the award to Peter Higgs, 84, and Francois Englert, 80.
In the 1960s, Higgs, Englert and various other scientists published studies furthering the theory of the Higgs field, the release stated. In 2012, scientists confirmed this theory when they announced the discovery of the Higgs boson.
Eight UCI faculty members and many postdoctoral researchers, students and staff members were involved in developing electronics, computer systems and software necessary to collect and record data leading to the discovery, according to the release.
Andrew Lankford, a UCI professor of physics and astronomy, was previously the deputy director of the ATLAS experiment — a key experiment in the confirmation of Higgs and Englert's theory.
"This is a fantastic achievement, a demonstration of both the predictive power of theoretical physics applied by brilliant minds to conceive the Higgs field and the ingenuity of scientists to address unprecedented technical challenges to its observation," Lankford wrote in the release. "It's exciting that we at UCI played a role in this discovery."
Higgs, whom the particle is named after, is a theoretical physicist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Englert is a theoretical physicist of the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium and has assisted at the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University in Orange.