Nobel Prize-winning scientist Prof Peter Higgs has revealed he did not know he had won the award until a woman congratulated him in the street.Prof Higgs said a former neighbour had got out of her car as he was returning from lunch in Edinburgh.
He added: “She congratulated me on the news and I said ‘oh, what news?'”
The woman had been alerted by her daughter in London that Prof Higgs had won the award, he revealed.
He added: “I heard more about it obviously when I got home and started reading the messages.”
Prof Higgs was recognised by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his work on the theory of the particle which shares his name, the Higgs boson.
The existence of the so-called “God particle”, said to give matter its substance, or mass, was proved 50 years later by a team from the European nuclear research facility (Cern) in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2012.
Speaking for the first time about the award at a media conference at the University of Edinburgh, he said: “How do I feel? Well, obviously I’m delighted and rather relieved in a sense that it’s all over. It has been a long time coming.”
An old friend told him he had been nominated as far back as 1980, he said.