Professor Higgs | On Commission


Professor Higgs

Proffessor Peter Higgs

Proffessor Peter Higgs

I photographed two heavyweights of the science world on the same day this month. Firstly Professor Peter Higgs (above) who 48 years ago first predicted the existence of a new particle, the Higgs boson, "probably the most sought-after particle in modern physics" (thanks Wiki). CERN famously announced on 4 July 2012 that they had (experimentally) established the existence of a Higgs-like boson. I remember seeing the footage of Professor Higgs overcome with emotion at the announcement, an announcement he'd never expected  to see in his lifetime. I cannot imagine how that must feel. Dedicating your work and life to a theory that you thought you'd never see confirmed and then not only excitingly witnessing the development of the technology able to test it but to also have your theory proved correct. A historic milestone that may not be bettered in our lifetime.

Sadly my knowledge of particle physics doesn't exist, so I bought the conversation round to a more comfortable level. I asked Prof Higgs if he was aware of the Nick Cave song 'Higgs Boson Blues'. Turns out he knows of it through his musician son but he has never actually heard it. I toyed with the idea of pulling out my phone and playing it to him but decided against it, it's a lengthy song and I didn't have long.

The second scientist was Dr James Watson of Watson & Crick fame, who first discovered the structure of DNA but I'll save that portrait for another post. I feel immensely lucky to have met two of the key people who've shaped modern science and our understanding of the world around us.