François Englert
François Englert

François Englert, Who Theorized "God Particle," is Chapman's Latest Nobel Prize Laureate; UC Irvine Says It Played a Role Too: Update

See the update at the end of this post with UC Irvine disclosing it played a role in the Nobel-winning physics.

ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 8, 3:37 P.M.: Chapman University has another Nobel laureate: He is François Englert, a Belgian theoretical physicist and Distinguished Visiting Professor in Residence and founding member of the Institute for Quantum Studies at the private campus in Orange.

He and Britain's Peter Higgs won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics for predicting the so-called "God Particle" that has helped the world's physicists solve some of the deepest mysteries of the universe.

Englert's 1964 theory was recently confirmed by scientists at CERN--the European Organization for Nuclear Research--home of the largest particle accelerator in the world. It is one of the newest breakthroughs to be proven in the world of quantum physics and is part of the most successful scientific theory in history.

Two weeks ago, Englert received the coveted "Citation Laureate" title from the worldwide news organization Thomson Reuters, a noted predictor of Nobel Prize recipients. The predictor proved correct this morning, when the Nobel Committee on Physics announced the honor in Stockholm.

"The entire Chapman community joins me in congratulating Professor Englert for this achievement," says Chapman's president James Doti in a statement. "His discoveries have revolutionized the field of physics, and his work continues to break new ground. We are grateful for his presence here at Chapman, which enlivens the intellectual life of our campus."

Englert joins Vernon L. Smith, professor of economics and law and founding member of Chapman's Economic Science Center, who won the 2002 Nobel in Economics; and Chapman Presidential Fellow Elie Wiesel, the acclaimed author, human rights advocate and Holocaust survivor, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

UPDATE, OCT. 8, 4:41 P.M.: Eight UC Irvine professors and many physics students who have worked with the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland, theorized as long as 50 years ago a so-called God particle, or the Higgs boson, which gives mass to some subatomic particles, according to the university.

Numerous postdoctoral researchers and other staff members also helped Peter Higgs and Francois Englert confirm the particle's existence in July 2012, according to a City News Service report.

Participating physics and astronomy professors have included Andrew Lankford, Jonathan Feng, Arvind Rajaraman, Tim Tait, Agnes Taffard, Daniel Whiteson, Mu-Chun Chen and Yuri Shirman, according to UCI.

"It's exciting that we at UCI played a role in this discovery,'' Lankford says in a university statement sent to the news service. "Nonetheless, observation is just the start. We'll now study the properties of the Higgs boson and search for possible partners and other new particles as we solve other puzzles of the subatomic world and ultimately the cosmos."

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