The discovery in July 2012 of a candidate Higgs boson at CERN, almost half a century after Peter Higgs’ prediction in 1964, is a milestone in the history of theoretical physics. Rarely in the history of physics has a theoretical prediction been confirmed so spectacularly, so long after it was originally made.
This marks the start of a new era in theoretical physics. While the Standard Model of elementary particle physics is now complete, many fundamental questions remain unanswered. We still don’t understand the intricate structure of charges and flavours in the Standard Model, nor what determines the values of its parameters. We are still struggling to build a compelling theory of quantum gravity, and understand the role played by the vacuum in the formation of the early Universe. We have no idea what dark matter and dark energy are, and we have difficulty understanding structure formation and complexity.
The Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics has been established by the University of Edinburgh to seek answers to some of these questions, by creating opportunities for physicists and students from around the world to come together to formulate new theoretical concepts to take us beyond the limitations of current paradigms.