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François Englert

(1932 - )

Francois Englert is a Jewish Belgian and Nobel Laureate theoretical physicist.

Born in 1932 in Brussels, Belgium to a Jewish family, Englert survived Nazi Germany’s occupation of Belgium during the Holocaust by hiding his Jewish identity by living in orphanages in the towns of Dinant, Lustin, Stoumont and Annevoie-Rouillon, all of which were liberated by the U.S. Army by the war’s end.

In 1955 Englert received his degree in electromechanical engineering from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, where he went on to earn a PhD in physical sciences four years later. He did research at Cornell University in New York and worked his way up to assistant professor.

Englert returned to his alma mater in Brussels to lead the theoretical physics group with Robert Brout. In 1984, he became professor emeritus, and that same year was appointed Sackler Professor by special appointment at Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy. He served as a distinguished visiting professor at Chapman University’s Institute for Quantum Studies in 2011 in California.

With several colleagues, Englert discovered what is known as the Higgs boson or Higgs particle, in March 2011. This major discovery has been dubbed the “God Particle” and is responsible for all mass in the universe. The particle was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, in Switzerland.

Englert has won many awards including the Nobel Prize in Physics with Peter Higgs in 2013 for discovering the Higgs mechanism.

Sources: How Stuff Works, New York Times, Wikipedia.