Nation & World News

An Aerogramme From Professor Higgs, Nobel Winner

By David Kestenbaum on October 9th, 2013

Well, it’s happened. British scientist Peter Higgs has won a Nobel Prize for proposing the Higgs boson particle as part of a mechanism that explains how things in the universe came to have mass.

Higgs seems to be lying low today so far — a colleague told The New York Times that Higgs had “gone off by himself for a few days without saying where” and that a reporter seeking an interview recently had been “sent away with a flea in his ear.”

As it happens, when I was just starting out in journalism 16 years ago, I wrote an email to Higgs at the University of Edinburgh asking him how the particle everyone was looking for had come to bear his name. (The Higgs is also known as the “God Particle” — a name that started out as a joke and stuck.)

I had just finished grad school in physics and was nervous to be emailing the guy whose name had figured so prominently in my classes. (Is this what journalists do? Just email famous people asking questions?)

I didn’t hear anything for a month. But then this lovely aerogramme appeared in the mail. I’ve kept it in my desk ever since.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Campaign Finance Transparency Bill Gets Chilly Reception In Senate

The legislation would require any politically active group that spends more than $10,000 to list its donors.


A burned-out car sits in front of a ruined house in this photo taken Sunday near Pateros, Washington. Large fires have destroyed hundreds of homes in the state this month.

Obama Declares Emergency As Huge Fires Burn In Washington State

Fire crews have been battling several major fires in central and eastern Washington, including one that has stretched over 250,000 acres.


GM Recalls Nearly 718,000 Vehicles For ‘Varying Safety Issues’

GM says no deaths and only two crashes have been linked to the recalls. While many of the vehicles have relatively minor issues, thousands of others have potential problems with their steering.


Rescue crews work on the wreckage of TransAsia Airways Flight GE222, which crashed while attempting to land in stormy weather on the Taiwanese island of Penghu, late Wednesday.

Plane Crash In Taiwan Kills Dozens, Leaving Some Survivors

A Taiwanese domestic flight that was attempting to land in bad weather related to a strong typhoon crashed near the runway Wednesday on an island off Taiwan’s western coast.


The main gate of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz I in Poland, where Johann "Hans" Breyer served as a guard.

Nazi War Crimes Suspect Dies In U.S. One Day Before Extradition Order

A Philadelphia judge issued an order today granting a request for Johann “Hans” Breyer to be extradited to Germany. But Breyer’s lawyer said the 89-year-old former Auschwitz guard died Tuesday.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments