U researchers involved in studies leading to Nobel Prize in Physics

Tyler Gieseke

Peter Higgs and Francois Englert received the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for developing the theory that suggests the existence of the Higgs boson or "God particle," news sources report. University of Minnesota researchers were invovled in research and technology development which provided evidence for the particle's existence and led to the prize.

According to the 1964 theory, the Higgs boson particle is associated with an energy field that encompasses the universe and determines particles' masses, the New York Times reported.

The prize has been expected since scientists announced last year that they had discovered a particle matching the Higgs's description at Switzerland's Large Hadron Collider, the Times said.  

Univeristy of Minnesota researchers have been invovled in the search for the Higgs boson for years, according to the University News Service.

"It has been a long road to get here, beginning all the way back in the mid-1980s in the time of the supercollider when we started designing detectors to find the Higgs," physics and astronomy professor Roger Rusack told the News Service.

Others besides Higgs, 84, of England, and Englert, 80, of Belgium, are also credited with the theory that led to the search for the Higgs boson, the Washington Post reported. Of the six scientists who developed the theory, five are still alive.

Some of the theorists who developed the Higgs boson theory and weren't awarded a prize Tuesday are disappointed, according to the Post.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobel Prizes, has rules for who can receive them. The recipient must be living, the Post said, and a single prize can go to no more than three people.

A group that developed the theory and didn't receive the prize consisted of three people, including physicist Carl Richard Hagen.

"Faced with a choice between their rulebook and an evenhanded judgment, the Swedes chose the rulebook," Hagen told the Post in an email. "Not a grateful concession by any means, but that department has never been my strong suit."