Photography credit: Anna Lythgoe

When Peter Higgs met Dara O Briain

Posted by on

If you missed the big announcement, CERN have not only found a Higgs-like-boson, they have found THE Higgs boson. (Although I am not sure how you could have escaped the plethora of pages devoted to the particle; it received the same kind of coverage the Royal Baby is currently enjoying.)

And in the year of the culmination of decades of theorising, millions of pounds of research, an international endeavour and THE official answer about the existence of the Higgs boson, we invited Professor Peter Higgs to the Festival. And he said yes.

To give you a bit of background, in the 1960s, alongside several other theoretical physicists, Peter hypothesised the existence of a boson that gives everything in the universe mass. At least that is my understanding (I have listened to both of The Times Cheltenham Science Festival events about the Higgs boson and had a fair few of my physics minded friends explain this to me so I am fairly confident in my statement. Ish.). And its official discovery is pegged to land a Nobel Prize in 2013. So Peter might well be in line for science’s best known award in November.

We were also lucky enough to have Dara O Briain as one of our Guest Directors at the Festival this year. Anyone who watches Dara on the telly most likely knows that he isn’t shy of professing his love of science. He studied mathematical physics as an undergraduate, so, we asked Dara to interview the illustrious Peter Higgs.

It was truly a wonderful event; Dara seamlessly navigated complex theoretical physics and Peter’s fifty year long career. As much as I love to hear pure science, I always enjoy hearing the stories that researchers inevitably have. In this case, Peter’s self-deprecation and witty anecdotes peppered with Dara’s natural flare for combining interviewing with comedy made this a truly spectacular and unique event.

Since this event sold out during the Festival, we wanted to share the audio recording with you. We hope you enjoy it too and invite you to join us for 2014.