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10,000 physics students sign up for Peter Higgs course

A free seven-week physics course studying what has been nicknamed "the God particle" taught by the man behind the theory has already had 10,000 applicants, the University of Edinburgh has said.

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Professor Peter Higgs will be running an online course called "The Discovery of the Higgs Boson", from the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Higgs will be teaching an online course in "the God particle". Credit: PA

Starting this week, the course will examine 84-year-old Professor Higgs' proposal that particles acquire mass by interacting with an all-pervading field spread throughout the universe.

The more they interact, the more massive and heavy they become.

His concept sparked a 40-year hunt for the Higgs Boson, which culminated in July 2012 when a team from the European nuclear research facility at Cern in Geneva announced the detection of a particle that fitted the description of the elusive Higgs.

Scientists used the world's biggest atom-smashing machine, the £2.6 billion Large Hadron Collider on the Swiss-French border, to track down the missing particle.

Professor Peter Higgs receives his Nobel Prize

British scientist Peter Higgs received his Nobel Prize from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf in a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall.

The Edinburgh University emeritus professor was awarded the prestigious prize alongside Francois Englert for their work on the theory of the Higgs boson, but was unable to collect the prize in October.

Professor Peter Higgs (left) Credit: REUTERS/Claudio Bresciani/TT News Agency
The Nobel Prize ceremony Credit: REUTERS/Claudio Bresciani/TT News Agency

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Nobel Prize-winning Peter Higgs plans to retire

Nobel Prize winning scientist Professor Peter Higgs has revealed plans to retire next year at the age of 85.

Professor Higgs, who travels across the world to give lectures in his role as a emeritus professor at the University of Edinburgh, said:

"I'm proposing to retire at the age of 85 next year. Flying around the world giving lectures is a fairly recent phenomenon because of the build up to this discovery at Cern but for many years I had a quiet time in retirement."

Higgs revealed he first heard he won the prestigious award when a women stopped to congratulate him in the street. Credit: PA Wire

The 84-year-old, who was recognised for his achievements on the theory of the the Higgs Boson particle last week, also revealed that he had turned down a knighthood in 1999.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, the Professor said: ""I got the offer from Tony Blair in November 1999. I would have been included in the millennium honours and I said no thank you.

"I thought anything of that sort was premature and anyway I didn't want that sort of title thank you. I actually didn't want any sort of title."

Higgs says his Nobel prize was 'a long time coming'

Nobel Prize-winning scientist Professor Peter Higgs has revealed that he first learned of his award when a former neighbour stopped him on the street to tell him.

Professor Peter Higss was recognised for his work on the Higgs boson "God particle" Credit: David Cheskin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

"She congratulated me on the news and I said 'oh, what news?" he said.

"She told me her daughter phoned from London to alert her to the fact I had got this prize. I heard more about it obviously when I got home and started reading the messages."

Higgs was awarded jointly for his work on the Higgs boson, the so-called "God particle" which gives matter its mass. Its existence was proved in 2012, 50 years after his work.

"Obviously I'm delighted and rather relieved in a sense that it's all over," Higgs said. "It's been a long time coming."

Professor Higgs 'overwhelmed' by Nobel Prize win

In a statement released through Edinburgh University, Professor Peter Higgs has said:

I am overwhelmed to receive this award and thank the Royal Swedish Academy.

I would also like to congratulate all those who have contributed to the discovery of this new particle and to thank my family, friends and colleagues for their support.

I hope this recognition of fundamental science will help raise awareness of the value of blue-sky research.

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UK's Peter Higgs joint winner of Nobel Prize in Physics

Higgs boson scientists Peter Higgs from the UK and Belgium's Francois Englert have won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physics.

They were among among several physicists in the 1960's who proposed a mechanism explaining why the Higgs boson particle, the universe's most basic building block, has mass.

Professor Peter Higgs. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The particle was discovered in 2012 Large Hadron Collider in Cern, Swizterland.

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