Edinburgh University launches free online Higgs boson course

A new online course which aims to teach students from all over the world about physicist Peter Higgs’ theories on the ‘God particle’ has been launched at the University of Edinburgh. The course, which is entitled The Discovery of the Higgs boson, is being offered free of charge.

Professor Higgs found international fame after he predicted the existence of a unique particle – the Higgs boson – needed to allow the accepted models of physics to work. Higgs, who is originally from Tyneside, has many links to Scotland as he was involved in the organisation of the first Scottish university summer school at Newbattle Abbey College in Dalkeith and spent several years working at the University of Edinburgh (where he devised the theory of a subatomic particle).

The course, which is entitled The Discovery of Higgs boson and lasts for seven weeks, will feature online lecturers and interviews with Professor Higgs. Students will then be able to partake in online debates and discussions about the theories that have been presented to them.  It is being offered for free as part of a new initiative by various British Universities to produce free online learning materials through the FutureLearn platform.

Professor Arthur Trew, Head of School for Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, said: “I am very pleased that Peter’s incredible work will now be available to a worldwide audience of learners to analyse and discuss.

“Peter’s research has provided us with profound insight into the building blocks of the Universe and this course will allow anyone with a computer and access to the web to take part in the exciting and revolutionary times that we live in.”

Ann Southwood, Principal of Newbattle Abbey College, said: “We welcome the University of Edinburgh offering this online opportunity for students from all over the world to be able to learn about Professor Peter Higgs’ theories free of charge. We hope that Higgs’ latest success will serve as an inspiration to those who are interested in his field of work.”