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.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Cumberledge October 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm



Shyamal Chakraborty October 24, 2012 at 7:07 am

Thanks for the succinct and useful timeline.


t.s.viswanathan October 24, 2012 at 7:16 am

The lucid and abridged explanations in the timeline make it very easy for a layman to comprehend the higgs field and related matters.
t.s.viswanathan, chennai, india.


Dr.A.P.Jayaraman October 24, 2012 at 7:26 am

A masterly offering to the science communication professionals. A well-knit fabric from the history of science to th epresent.
Thanks for this intellectual input.


cauvery October 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Useful & valuable information. Thanks.


James 'Jim' Oss October 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Bill Crystal clear, “Absolutely marvelous.”,
Jim Oss, retired Science teacher
Wa Keeney, Kansas


janeswim October 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm

is the book for sale hard backed or soft…I want to send it to a man in prison and they cannot have hardbound books.


Nick October 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Higgs Force is available in paperback. You can order it from the shop on the Quantum Wave website.


Gopi October 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Most interesting and usefull. Thank You


Dr. Derle Smith October 24, 2012 at 11:56 pm

This timeline is very useful. Thank you for devoting the time in developing it!


Dipak Deb October 25, 2012 at 1:32 am

Beautiful ! Exactly the the I was looking for . I will use it for a talk to my pupils . Dipak


Sello October 26, 2012 at 11:46 am

It makes sense for me now. Thanks very much!!!


Manoranjan Rao October 27, 2012 at 11:37 am

Nice way of summing up, though you could have added contributions of Fermi, Einstein and Bose. Thanks.


Dwight Wallace October 29, 2012 at 6:30 am

Been watching these events all my life, (at least the ones after I was born, 1947), and was dancing from foot to foot waiting for the confirmation of the Higgs Boson, one way or the other. Now it is confirmed, and science can once again forge ahead in its search for the truth about our amazing universe. I hope the unified field theory is in place before I pass away. I would really like to see that. Real live aliens too.


D. J. Borthakur October 30, 2012 at 3:28 am

Very useful to give understanding to pupils regarding the advancement of what is what and how. Thanks — D.J.Borthakur


Dan Cumberledge October 31, 2012 at 1:12 am

how much is the book in US currency?


Nick October 31, 2012 at 9:18 am

The recommended retail price for Higgs Force is $19.95 in paperback and $9.99 on Kindle.


moloy ganguli October 31, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Thanks, for compiling such useful information


Jai Khanna October 31, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Your step by step explanation is enlightening. I wish a similar, short explanation of Bose-Einstein statistics would have further helped clarify the Higgs Boson finding at CERN.


Nick October 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I have promised to write another article about bosons and fermions, but it probably won’t appear for a few weeks.


Rajendra April 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Please do this at the earliest, Thanks.


Nicholas Mee April 14, 2013 at 6:49 pm
prakash December 27, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Thank you it is very useful to understand the concept of Higgs Boson discovery.


Parvez April 17, 2014 at 10:10 am

Very well knit together and comprehensive.


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