‘God particle’ big bang boffin lights up canvas


Peter Higgs portrait


By Michael MacLeod

A PORTRAIT of the boffin behind the ‘big bang’ experiment has been unveiled.

It comes as the race hots up between Europe and America to find the elusive ‘Higgs boson’ – the only remaining undiscovered particle in science.

European and America scientists have each spent around £5billion on experiments hunting for the ‘God particle’ – so-called because its discovery could answer fundamental questions of science and space.

Granddad physicist Peter Higgs, 79, dreamed up the experiment to smash two beams of particles head-on at super-fast speeds, recreating conditions in space moments after the Big Bang.

A painted tribute to the theory’s father was revealed on Monday at the University of Edinburgh, where he had his ‘Eureka moment 45 years ago.

Ken Currie’s explosive oil painting, commissioned by the uni, shows the retired researcher at his home in Edinburgh’s new town.

It is widely expected that confirmation of existence of the Higgs boson is likely to lead to Professor Higgs getting a Nobel Prize for physics.

Mr Currie said: “It has been a great honour and privilege to be given the opportunity to paint Professor Peter Higgs.

“I have always had a deep admiration and respect for the work many scientists pursue.

“Not least that of Peter Higgs himself along with his many colleagues around the world who, with the utmost dedication and tenacity, are trying to get as near to the truth about the nature of the universe as is humanly possible.”

Peter Higgs portrait

Sir Timothy O’Shea, the uni’s principle, said: “The University wanted to honour Peter Higgs’ tremendous achievements in a special way.

“We are delighted with Ken Currie’s painting and will be proud to display it for posterity.”

Europe’s particle physics lab, Cern, is reported to be losing ground rapidly to its US rival in the race to discover the Higgs boson.

Physicians at the Illinois-based Fermilab Tevatron reckon they will win the race after the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland suffered a massive magnet failure, meaning they couldn’t get the sub-atomic particles moving.

The setback will halt experiments at the accelerator for at least 12 months.

And Fermilab have taken advantage, cranking up the intensity of research at their Tevatron accelerator.

Dr Dmitri Denisov of the American team said: “We now have a very, very good chance that we will see hints of the Higgs before the LHC will.
“I think we have the next two years to find it and by that time we expect to say something very strong.

“The probability of our discovering the Higgs is very good – and we are talking about seeing hints of the Higgs by this summer.”

Prof Higgs hit the headlines last year when he dismissed speculation it could end the world as “a load of crap.”

He said he had a bottle of champagne in his cellar at home for the conclusion of the experiment, but was yet to put it on ice.

He added: “I’ll celebrate once we get the results.”


  1. Wow. Wait until the painting comes out with the other five theorists who lay claim to the mass boson. Higgs will be the guy in the corner what all that math stuff is.

  2. “Physicians at the Illinois-based Fermilab Tevatron…”.

    Physicians are medical practicioners. I believe you meant physicist!

  3. Check out the book of Ken Curries paintings by Dr Tom Normand. Great book showing and discussing amazing paintings.

  4. Interesting picture – would look good as a canvas print 😉

    I do hope he finds the Higgs boson, it’s really fustrating to search for something & not find it, it’s even fustrating looking for something mundane like the TV remote – so looking for something that could answer so many important questions about the origins of the universe, must be really fustrating after years of searching & billions in investment.

    If you want my advice they should get a woman looking for it, I’ve spent hours looking for something in the past, my wife just walks in & finds it , I wonder if Peter Higgs has tried asking his wife to have a look for this elusive particle 😉

  5. Why is sooooo much money being invested into finding something that only exists in theory? And is ut true that a lot of this money being invested is public money?

    Amazes me that in a time where there are businesses & indivuals going bankrupt all over the place & people struggling to get by, billions is being spent on finding something that might exist.

    I might be missing something here, maybe this is really important some how, but I can’t see how it can be important along the lines of curing terminal illnesses & helping to stamp out poverty & suffering, causes that I would have thought that the billions being invested, would be better spent on at the moment.

    I’m no scientist so I may be way missing the point here – am I? Educate me! 😉

  6. Nice picture, would look good as a canvas print 😉

    must be fustrating searching for years for something, it’s bad enough trying to find the TV remote!

    I wonder if Peter Higgs has tried asking his wife to have a look for this elusive particle, if I can’t find anything my wife usually walks straight over to where I was looking, and finds it 😉

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