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Prof Peter Higgs wins the Royal Society's Copley Medal

Professor Higgs Image copyright Getty Images

Prof Peter Higgs has won the world's oldest scientific prize - the Royal Society's Copley Medal - for his work on the theory of the Higgs boson.

Prof Higgs was at Edinburgh University when he developed the boson theory in the 1960s.

He theorised that particles acquire mass by interacting with a field spread throughout the universe.

His concept sparked a 40-year hunt for the Higgs "boson" particle needed to carry and transmit the field's effect.

The search for the so-called "God particle" culminated in July 2012 when a team from the European nuclear research facility at Cern in Geneva announced the detection of a particle that fitted the description.

Commenting on his receipt of the Copley Medal, Professor Higgs said: "It is an honour to be the recipient this year of the Copley Medal, the Royal Society's premier award."

The Copley medal was first awarded by the Royal Society in 1731, 170 years before the first Nobel Prize.

It is awarded for outstanding achievements in scientific research and has most recently been awarded to eminent scientists such as theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, DNA fingerprinting pioneer Alec Jeffreys and Andre Geim, for his discovery of graphene.