In 2012, their ideas were confirmed by the discovery of the Higgs particle at the CERN laboratory outside Geneva in Switzerland.
The boson explains why other elementary particles — the basic building blocks of the Universe — have mass.
Higgs worked on the original theory with five other theoretical physicists — François Englert, Robert Brout, Gerald Guralnik, CR Hagen, and Tom Kibble.
However, particle is now known by physicists and Cern as the Higgs Boson.
Higgs was born to a BBC sound engineer in Newcastle in 1929. In his early life, Higgs proved to be a brilliant student, winning many prizes at Cotham Grammar School but none of them in physics.
However, it was here that he was inspired by the work of Paul Dirac, one of the physicists, who helped lay the foundations for quantum mechanics and went on to do his PhD at King's College London. After completing his degree, he applied for a lectureship at the London university, but failed to land the job. He then headed for Scotland and it was there that he proposed his famous mechanism.
Though other researchers were working independently on the same idea, it was Higgs who was the most mentioned in academic papers and was associated with conferences on the theory, and that is how his name got attached with the theory.
François Englert, a Belgian citizen, was among the other theorists, who were independently working on the theory. Englert, was born in 1932 in Etterbeek, Belgium.
He graduated as an electrical-mechanical engineer in 1955 from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) where he received his PhD in physical sciences in 1959. He started off in 1959 at Cornell University, as a research associate of Robert Brout and then as an assistant professor.
In 1964, Brout and Englert showed that gauge vector fields, abelian and non-abelian, could acquire mass if empty space were endowed with a particular type of structure that one encounters in material systems.
In 1980, Brout along with Englert coheaded the theoretical physics group. In 1998 Englert became professor emeritus. In 1984 Professor Englert was first appointed as a Sackler Professor by Special Appointment in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Tel-Aviv University.
He joined Chapman University’s Institute for Quantum Studies in 2011, where he serves as a Distinguished Visiting Professor.