British scientist argues against changes in Nobel Prize process

Dec. 27, 2013 at 6:03 PM

LONDON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The president of Britain's Royal Society says the system of selecting Nobel Prize winners should not be changed, despite calls for reforms.

At a time when some say CERN should have been included in this year's physics prize -- with thousands of researchers at the Large Hadron Collider taking part in the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 -- the society's Sir Paul Nurse told BBC News he believed the prize should not change a policy of rewarding select individuals, not teams or organizations.

"There are often big teams involved, but recognizing individuals does have an impact that I'm afraid recognizing groups or individuals does not," he said.

Peter Higgs and Francois Englert received their Nobel Prizes in physics earlier this month. A principle guiding the Nobel Foundation is that the prize should be given to no more than three individuals.

Other researchers were involved in coming up with the theory to explain how elementary particles came to have mass, a theory now known as the Higgs mechanism.

One of them, Peter Higgs, told BBC News before the winners of this year's Nobel Prize for physics were announced he did not mind if he did not win the award.

"But by awarding it to some sub-set you detract from the fact that we all contributed in some very important way to this discovery," he said.

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