Higgs boson's many great minds cause a Nobel prize headache

Wednesday, July 4, 2012 - 10:30 in Mathematics & Economics

With Nobel prizes traditionally going to a maximum of three people, rows over who deserves credit have already broken outIt's good news for physicists, but one dreadful headache for the Nobel committee. The discovery – or near discovery – of the Higgs boson, will see someone win a Nobel prize, but who deserves credit for the work is a minefield.Traditionally, the science Nobel prizes are given to a maximum of three people, whose contributions are judged to be the most important. The rule is archaic, in that it harks back to a time when much of science was done by individuals or smaller groups.Two teams of scientists at Cern, amounting to thousands of people, carried out the painstaking work of spotting traces of the particle amid the subatomic debris of more than a thousand trillion collisions inside the Large Hadron Collider. All deserve credit for that effort.But this is the...

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