Two scientists have won the Nobel prize in physics for their work on the theory of the Higgs boson.
Peter Higgs, from the UK, and Francois Englert from Belgium, shared the prize.
In the 1960s they were among several physicists who proposed a mechanism to explain why the most basic building blocks of the Universe have mass.
The mechanism predicts a particle – the Higgs boson – which was finally discovered in 2012 at the Large Hadron Collider at Cern, in Switzerland.
“I am overwhelmed to receive this award… I would also like to congratulate all those who have contributed to the discovery of this new particle”
Peter HiggsEmeritus professor of theoretical physics, University of Edinburgh
“This year’s prize is about something small that makes all the difference,” said Staffan Normark, permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Professor Higgs is renowned for shying away from the limelight, and he could not be located for interview in the immediate aftermath of the announcement.
“He’s gone on holiday without a phone,” his Edinburgh University physics colleague Alan Walker told the BBC, adding that Higgs had also been unwell.
“He is taking a break from all of this, taking some time to relax, because he knows when he comes back he’ll have to face up to a media storm.”
But the university released a prepared statement from Higgs, 84, who is an emeritus professor of theoretical physics:
“I am overwhelmed to receive this award and thank the Royal Swedish Academy,” he said.