1. Broken Symmetries and the Masses of Gauge Bosons; 2. Broken Symmetry and the Mass of Gauge Vector Mesons; 3. Global Conservation Laws and Massless Particles.

New York: The American Physical Society, 1964.

First editions of the first published papers to propose the existence of what are now known as the ‘Higgs mechanism’ and the ‘Higgs boson’, “the key element of the electroweak theory that forms part of the Standard Model of particle physics, and of many models, such as the Grand Unified Theory, that go beyond it. All three papers introduce a version of the Higgs mechanism, that of Englert & Brout being the first to appear, but only Higgs’ paper took the further step of predicting the existence of the Higgs boson. In 2013 Englert and Higgs received the Nobel Prize in Physics for this work (Brout could not be awarded the prize as he had passed away in 2011). The Higgs boson was detected by the LHC at CERN in 2012.

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First editions of the first published papers to propose the existence of what are now known as the ‘Higgs mechanism’ and the ‘Higgs boson’, “the key element of the electroweak theory that forms part of the Standard Model of particle physics, and of many models, such as the Grand Unified Theory, that go beyond it. All three papers introduce a version of the Higgs mechanism, that of Englert & Brout being the first to appear, but only Higgs’ paper took the further step of predicting the existence of the Higgs boson. In 2013 Englert and Higgs received the Nobel Prize in Physics “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which was recently confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider” (Brout could not be awarded the prize as he had passed away in 2011).

“Particle physicists study matter made from fundamental particles whose interactions are mediated by exchange particles known as force carriers. At the beginning of the 1960s a number of these particles had been discovered or proposed, along with theories suggesting how they relate to each other, some of which had already been reformulated as field theories in which the objects of study are not particles and forces, but quantum fields and their symmetries. However, attempts to unify known fundamental forces such as the electromagnetic force and the weak nuclear force were known to be incomplete … Goldstone’s theorem … also appeared to rule out many obvious solutions, since it appeared to show that zero-mass particles would have to exist that were “simply not seen.”

“The Higgs mechanism is a process by which vector bosons can get rest mass without explicitly breaking gauge invariance, as a byproduct of spontaneous symmetry breaking. The mathematical theory behind spontaneous symmetry breaking was initially conceived and published within particle physics by Yoichiro Nambu in 1960, the concept that such a mechanism could offer a possible solution for the “mass problem” was originally suggested in 1962 by Phillip Anderson, and Abraham Klein and Benjamin Lee showed in March 1964 that Goldstone’s theorem could be avoided this way in at least some non-relativistic cases and speculated it might be possible in truly relativistic cases. These approaches were quickly developed into a full relativistic model, independently and almost simultaneously, by three groups of physicists: by François Englert and Robert Brout in August 1964; by Peter Higgs in October 1964; and by Gerald Guralnik, Carl Hagen and Tom Kibble in November 1964.

Higgs’ paper was completed on 31 July 1964 and submitted to Physics Letters; it was rejected, “the editor saying ‘If you develop this work and write a longer paper, you might consider sending it to Il Nuovo Cimento’. This suggestion carried mixed messages, as Il Nuovo Cimento had a reputation at that time for not using referees at all. Higgs took the first piece of advice, adding some practical consequences, which took his ‘extra week’. He added some sentences at the end, alluding to the presence of scalar bosons, which together with an equation describing their behaviour form the first hints of what has become known as the Higgs boson. Feeling that Physics Letters was unreceptive, and dis-favouring Il Nuovo Cimento, Higgs then sent this revised paper to Physical Review Letters

“In another of the coincidences in this tale, the editor of Physical Review Letters received Higgs’ manuscript on the very same day that Brout and Englert’s paper was published. When Higgs’ paper finally appeared in print, on 19 October, Brout and Englert were surprised to see that it included a reference to their own: “He couldn't have seen our paper, so how did he know of it?” Higgs explained: Nambu had been the referee of both papers and “had drawn attention to the work of Brout and Englert. I added a remark about their work.” Their researches were truly independent …

“There is no dispute that Brout and Englert were first to complete, and first to publish. So why is it that Higgs' name is associated with the massive boson and not those of Englert or Brout? The answer is that so far everyone had been addressing what happened to Goldstone’s massless boson. However, there remained the issue of Goldstone’s other massive boson. This is what Higgs had uniquely included in his revised paper, the one that appeared in Physical Review Letters” (Close, pp. 161-3). “Within the community of particle physicists it is Higgs' name that is freely associated with the "Boson that has been named after [him].” That is how it is likely to remain” (Close, p. 168).

Guralnik, Hagen and Kibble, all then at Imperial College, London, had been working independently on the same problem as Brout & Englert and Higgs, and received copies of their papers just as they were about to send their own paper to Physical Review Letters. “Guralnik, Hagen and Kibble’s work was tightly argued, and contained unique insights towards understanding the depth of these new ideas. However, the sad fact was that they had been scooped. They added references to those papers into the text, but changed nothing, nor did they add anything as a result of what had happened. They sent the manuscript to Physical Review Letters, where it was received on 12 October I964 … There is no massive ‘Higgs boson’ in their paper” (Close, p. 150).

Frank Close, The Infinity Puzzle, 2011.



Three vols, 8vo (267 x 199 mm).Original printed wrappers (former owners’ address labels on rear covers, No. 20 with some damp-staining to outer edges of rear cover). HIGGS, Peter. ‘Broken Symmetries and the Masses of Gauge Bosons,’ pp. 508-9 in Physical Review Letters, Vol. 13, No. 16, 19 October 1964. [Offered with:] ENGLERT, François & BROUT, Robert. ‘Broken Symmetry and the Mass of Gauge Vector Mesons,’ pp. 321-3 in ibid., Vol. 13, No. 9, 31 August 1964. [Offered with:] GURALNIK, Gerald, HAGEN, Carl & and KIBBLE, Tom. ‘Global Conservation Laws and Massless Particles,’ pp. 585-587 in ibid., Vol. 13, No. 20, 16 November 1964.

Item #4550

Price: $5,500.00