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Nobel scientists honoured

Nobel laureates Professors Peter Higgs and Francois Englert have received honorary degrees at an event at the University.

Peter Higgs and Francois Englert

Professor Higgs, of the University of Edinburgh, and Professor Englert, of Université Libre de Bruxelles, received doctorates in science from one another’s institutions, at a graduation ceremony in the University’s McEwan Hall.

Professors Higgs and Englert won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013 for independently discovering a mechanism that enables elementary particles to acquire mass.

The new subatomic particle predicted by the mechanism, the Brout-Englert-Higgs boson, was confirmed to exist in 2012 following ground-breaking experiments at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva.

Royal award

At the event, Professor Sir Tom Kibble from Imperial College London, who also developed the theory of the mechanism, received a Royal Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director-General of CERN, was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh.

Freedom of the city

At the ceremony, Professor Higgs was awarded the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh by the Lord Provost, the Rt Hon Donald Wilson.

Professor Tom Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, received an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Edinburgh.