Nobel Prize-winning scientist accepts major civic honour

Prof Peter Higgs, the Nobel Prize winning scientist who first predicted the existence of what became known as the Higgs boson, has accepted the freedom of the City of Newcastle at a ceremony held this week (Wednesday 2nd April).

Prof Higgs was born in Elswick in Newcastle in 1929 and spent his early life in the city. He has gone on to become one of the world’s most famous scientists and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics late last year.

Before accepting the Freedom of the City of Newcastle at a special meeting of the City Council in the Civic Centre, Prof Higgs spent part of the afternoon visiting Science Central, a 24-acre development delivered by Newcastle Science City - a partnership between the council and Newcastle University - where a plaque was unveiled in his honour.

Newcastle Science City is responsible for maximising the North East’s scientific potential, raising global awareness of the region’s expertise to create a scientific legacy for the region. Integral to this is the delivery of Science Central, one of the UK’s largest development projects, which will create a landmark urban quarter in Newcastle that is set to become a hub for scientific business, research and innovation.

Speaking of the awarding of the Freedom of the City on Science Central, Prof. Higgs said: “I was born here and even though I didn’t stay here long, it’s an honour and a pleasure to come to Newcastle to receive it.”

Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “It’s a fantastic honour to be able to count Prof Higgs as one of our city’s most famous sons. His work has not only revolutionised particle physics, it has the possibility to transform our world. I hope that by honouring him we can inspire our city’s young scientists to achieve great things for our city in the years ahead.”

Fiona Standfield, Director of Newcastle Science City, said: “We are delighted Prof Higgs is able to visit Science Central today, located in the neighbourhood in which he was born, which seems fitting as he is awarded this honour in recognition of his remarkable contribution to science. Prof Higgs’ achievements are of global significance, and he is truly an inspiration to future generations and what we are aspiring to achieve on Science Central.”

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