Top of the physics class

Science Minister meets winners of Higgs Prize for Physics.

Scotland’s Science Minister, Shirley-Anne Somerville today (Wednesday 11) announced the winners of the Higgs Prize for physics.

Charlotte Facherty, a former pupil of Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh, now in 1st year at the University of Cambridge, studying Physical Natural Sciences and Daniel Johnstone, a former pupil of the James Young High School in Livingston, now in 1st year at the University of St Andrews, studying Medicine are the winners of  2016. 

The Higgs Prize was established by the Scottish Government in recognition of the impact Nobel Physics Prize winner Professor Higgs' theoretical work has had on modern day particle physics. Its purpose is to reward and inspire Scotland’s best young school physicists and is awarded on merit to a male and female pupil from a publicly-funded school who have shown outstanding performance in the Advanced Higher Physics exam.

Minister for Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said:

“I want to offer warmest congratulations to this year’s winners of the Higgs Prize, Charlotte and Daniel, whom I met today. They have been at the very top of the physics class in Scotland for 2016 and  rightly deserve to win and be recognised for their hard work and success.

“I’m delighted that their efforts are being marked with the Higgs Prize. Professor Higgs’s achievements are hugely inspiring for our young people and his commitment to encouraging our next generation of scientists is well-known.

“Building on our proud history of scientific discovery, we must now encourage more young people to choose a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). That’s why inspiration is central to our STEM strategy consultation.” 

Professor Peter Higgs said:

“I’m delighted to see young people being rewarded for their achievements in Physics, and hope that this Prize will encourage and inspire our future scientists.”

Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Sheila Rowan said:

“Science helps us make sense of the world and answer life’s ‘big questions’. When they visit CERN this summer Charlotte and Daniel will learn at first-hand how Scottish researchers are working with those from around the world to increase our understanding of how the universe was formed. Winning the Higgs Prize is a fantastic achievement and one that I hope will lead to further success in the future.”


The award winners are former pupils, who were chosen because they were at the very top of their advanced higher physics class in Scotland for 2016. Both pupils have now progressed into first year at University and will now get the chance to visit the internationally renowned CERN research facility in Switzerland to take part in its summer school and meet with researchers on a specially designed programme.

The draft strategy for consultation is available here:

The consultation will run until 31 January 2017.

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