FranÃ§ois Englert in Israel, 2007
6 November 1932 |
Etterbeek, Brussels, Belgium
|Institutions||UniversitÃ© Libre de Bruxelles
Tel Aviv University
|Alma mater||UniversitÃ© Libre de Bruxelles|
|Known for||Higgs mechanism|
|Notable awards||Francqui Prize (1982)
Wolf Prize in Physics (2004)
Sakurai Prize (2010)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2013)
In 1955, I got my degree in electrical-mechanical engineering. I realised, however, that my interest was less in practical applications than in the understanding of the underlying theoretical structure, and I decided to learn physics.
Gravitational and electromagnetic interactions are long-range interactions, meaning they act on objects no matter how far they are separated from each other.
My parents emigrated from Poland in 1924 with my brother, who was a few months old. They were from a simple family of Polish Jews. They were looking, I suppose, for a better economic life and were escaping from an anti-Semitic environment.
I was born in Belgium on 6 November 1932. I am married to Mira Nikomarow and have five children: Michele, Anne, Georges, from a first marriage with Esther Dujardin, and Sarah, Helene from a second one with Danielle Vindal.
Fundamental research is needed to make progress, which you cannot do solely by copying others. If you only do applied research, you quickly lose creativity.
As an assistant in the polytechnic department, I was able to finance new studies and got my Physics Masters Degree in 1958 and my Ph.D. in 1959.
I like to call it the scalar boson because this reflects an essential component of the theory – it means that the field the boson travels through has no preferred direction, unlike the way a magnetic field does.
I feel squeezed like a lemon – interviewers and people keep turning up unannounced at my office!
The curiosity of the human mind is essential if you want citizens who think rather than accept the first nonsense they come to.
It's not necessary to have read everything about a particular subject in order to get interested in it. The main thing is to sort out what's important and what is peripheral in order to be able to dive in.