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5 Revelations About Peter Higgs

The Secret Life of Scientists and EngineersThe Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

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Today, BBC Radio 4 premiered an in-depth interview with physicist Peter Higgs, the man behind the groundbreaking theory that bears his name. In the piece, Higgs discusses his early career, his Nobel Prize, and of course, the Higgs boson.

Here are five surprising highlights from the interview:

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– Higgs didn’t always love physics. In his school days, Peter Higgs found physics to be “boring.” He was going to be an engineer, but was clumsy in the lab. His second career choice, “by default,” was to become a theoretical physicist.

– He had trouble finding collaborators. “Nobody else took what I was doing seriously. So nobody would want to work with me,” said Higgs. “I was thought to be a bit eccentric and maybe cranky.”


– He goes to bed early. Higgs admits that he failed to link his theory to the much celebrated Standard Model of Physics, partially because he missed a discussion one night at physics summer camp. He had decided to go to bed early.

– His research impacted his marriage. “Part of the problem was that when my wife and I got married she thought of me as an easygoing person,” said Higgs. “I suffered a personality change after the mid-60’s. I became much more dedicated to things involving my work.”

– “30 second science” is not for Higgs. When asked to describe the Higgs boson in 30 seconds or less, Higgs declines. He does provide an eloquent description of the particle in this 120 second explanation .

Listen to the full interview here .