A scientist who predicted the Higgs boson – and another who helped to find it – have been knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Prof Tom Kibble of Imperial College London was one of six researchers whose work in the 1960s led to the eventual discovery of the Higgs. The elusive particle was finally detected in 2012 at Cern by two giant experiments – Atlas and CMS.
CMS was designed by Prof Tejinder Jim Virdee, also of Imperial. He originated the concept of CMS in 1990 with four colleagues, oversaw its construction, and acted as spokesman for the experiment when it first began taking data in 2006-10.
Prof Virdee developed new technologies within the detector that ultimately allowed it to find the Higgs – the mechanism which explains how sub-atomic particles came to have substance, or mass. Both he and Prof Kibble become knights. They are joined by other distinguished scientists including Prof John Bernard Pethica of the National Physical Laboratory, and Prof Colin Blakemore of the University of London, former head of the Medical Research Council. Via Higgs boson scientists are knighted.