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The Theory of 1964
In 1964, six theoretical physicists hypothesized a new field (like an electromagnetic field) that would permeate all of space and solve a critical problem for our understanding of the universe.
Independently, other physicists were constructing a theory of the fundamental particles, eventually called the "Standard Model," that would prove to be phenomenally accurate.*
These otherwise unrelated efforts turned out to be intimately interconnected. The Standard Model needed a mechanism to give fundamental particles mass.
The field theory devised by Peter Higgs, Robert Brout, François Englert, Gerald Guralnik, Carl Hagen, and Thomas Kibble did just that.