Higgs Force Timeline

Inspired by a falling snowflake, Kepler suggests that the symmetrical shapes of crystals might be due to the symmetrical arrangement of the atoms from which they are formed. (1611)


Faraday performs a series of ingenious experiments and shows that the electric and magnetic forces are closely related. His results will be vital for the widespread future use of electricity. (1831)

While playing cards Mendeleyev realises that the elements can be organised into the Periodic Table based on their chemical properties. (1866)


Maxwell translates Faraday’s experimental results into mathematical language and constructs a unified theory of electromagnetism. (1873)


Rutherford discovers the atomic nucleus by bombarding gold foil with radioactive particles. (1911)


Kamerlingh Onnes discovers that some materials lose all electrical resistance at very low temperatures. He calls this remarkable phenomenon ‘superconductivity’. (1911)


Building on Rutherford’s experimental results, Bohr devises the first model of the atom using an early version of quantum mechanics. (1913)


Kapitsa discovers that helium loses its viscosity at extremely low temperatures and begs Stalin and Molotov to release Landau from prison so that he can find a theoretical explanation of ‘superfluidity’. (1937)


The quantum theory of electromagnetism ‘QED’ is invented by Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga. Dyson realised how the pieces fit together while dozing on a greyhound bus crossing America. (1948)


Landau is released from prison and immediately produces a theory of superfluidity. He follows this with a theory of superconductivity. Both theories are based on Landau’s innovative ideas about symmetry breaking. (1950)

Reines and Cowans detect neutrinos produced in the core of a nuclear reactor confirming the theory of the weak force proposed by Pauli and Fermi. (1956)


Higgs invents a mechanism based on symmetry breaking that will enable a unified theory of the electromagnetic and weak forces to be constructed. (1964)


The fourth quark ‘charm’ is discovered providing confirmation of the quark model invented by Gell-Mann. (1974)


Following the discovery of charm, the standard model of particle physics becomes established. It consists of a periodic table of matter particles that interact via two forces described by the electroweak theory and a theory of the strong force known as QCD. (1974)


The W and Z particles that produce the weak force are discovered at CERN. (1983)


After a search lasting several decades, the elusive Higgs particle is discovered at CERN – the final confirmation of the electroweak theory. (2012)


If you would like to know more about the intriguing story of the Higgs boson, take a look here: Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered.