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Higgs boson: So who is getting the Nobel?

The discovery of a particle thought to be the elusive Higgs boson has prompted a new investigation: Whose names will be engraved on the Nobel Prize in Physics medal?


British physicist Peter Higgs, right, congratulates Fabiola Gianotti, ATLAS experiment spokesperson, after her results presentation during a scientific seminar to deliver the latest update in the search for the Higgs boson at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin near Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday.

Denis Balibouse, Pool/AP

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There's the science, and then there's the glitter. As researchers celebrate the best-yet evidence of the existence of the Higgs boson, some are already thinking about who's going to get the Nobel Prize in physics for the seminal discovery.

Stephen Hawking told the BBC that he thinks Peter Higgs, who first theorized about the particle, should get the prize. But the award can go to as many as three people and even to groups, though the science Nobel committees haven't yet seen a need to recognize groups, says Sven Lidin, chairman of the Nobel committee in chemistry. So who else may share the podium with Higgs?

The talk around the physics prize for the Higgs boson is especially hot because so many people were involved in the research teams that worked at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Modern physics is bigger than ever

The great majority of research performed since the 1940s has been conducted by teams of people working in laboratory groups, said Tom Broman, a historian of science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

"The problem of making awards to individuals has been exacerbated, but by no means created, by the scaling up of research projects," Broman said in an email.


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