François Englert, theorist of elementary particles
The renowned physicist, François Englert reached the pinnacle of his career when, on 8 October 2013, he received the Nobel Prize for Physics. This eminent professor thus became one of the best ambassadors for the applied sciences and Belgian research.
François Englert attended primary school in Brussels before going to the Athénée Royal de Koekelberg for his secondary education. From an early age he was particularly impressed and inspired by his maths teacher. He then joined the faculty of applied sciences at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), where he began to study physics, studies that would lead him to a degree in physics in 1957 and a PhD the following year.
François Englert then left for Cornell University in the United States, where he was appointed research associate in 1959 and assistant professor the following year. He then worked under Robert Brout, with whom he has collaborated throughout his life. In 1961, he returned to ULB, first as a lecturer then a professor in 1964. Robert Brout joined him there and they both headed up the theoretical physics group that they created together in 1980. He became professor emeritus in 1998 and was also "Sackler Professor by Special Appointment" at Tel Aviv University.
In partnership with Robert Brout, on 26 June 1964 he proposed a mechanism for explaining the mass of elementary particles. Such a mechanism was proposed almost simultaneously (on 31 August) by Peter Higgs, whose name is also associated with the Higgs Boson, also called the Brout-Englert-Higgs Boson.
This Belgian scientist holds several awards. He received the Francqui Prize in 1982. Alongside Robert Brout and Peter Higgs he was awarded the European Physical Society's Particle Prize in 1997 and also received the Wolf Prize for Physics in 2004.
On 13 September 2012, François Englert was promoted to the rank of Commander of the Mérite Wallon. On 29 May 2013, with Peter Higgs and CERN he received the Prince of Asturies award for scientific and technical research. In addition, the lowest sphere of the Atomium has been named the "Sphère François Englert". By Royal Decree of 8 July 2013, King Albert II awarded him the personal and hereditary title of Baron. Finally, on 8 October 2013, he received the Nobel Prize for Physics alongside Peter Higgs.
© Photo: ULB - Jean Jottard