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Francois Englert of Belgium and Peter Higgs of Britain won the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for their theory on how the most basic building blocks of the universe acquire mass, eventually forming the world we know today.

Their concept was confirmed last year by the discovery of the so-called Higgs particle, also known as the Higgs boson, at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

“I am overwhelmed to receive this award and thank the Royal Swedish Academy,I hope this recognition of fundamental science will help raise awareness of the value of blue-sky research.” the 84-year-old Higgs said in a statement released by the University of Edinburgh, where he is a professor emeritus.

“Of course I’m happy,” the 80-year-old Englert told reporters, thanking all those who helped him in his research.

Asked whether he could have imagined getting a Nobel Prize when he started the research 50 years ago, he said no.Englert and Higgs theorized about the existence of the particle in the 1960s to provide an answer to a riddle: why matter has mass. The tiny particle, they believed, acts like molasses on snow – causing other basic building blocks of nature to stick together, slow down and form atoms.

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