“I had a bet with Gordon Kane of Michigan University that the Higgs particle wouldn’t be found. It seems I have just lost 100 dollars,” the Telegraph quoted Hawking as saying.
When Higgs first proposed that an invisible field strewn across space gave mass to the building blocks of the universe, the theory was ridiculed by some of the most respected minds of the time.
His first paper was rejected by a journal, while other scientists accused him and his colleagues of failing to grasp the basic principles of physics.
Despite the sleights Higgs, at the time a 34-year-old physicist at Edinburgh University, was convinced that his idea was right although he never envisaged being able to prove it.
48 years on, his radical concept was finally proved correct by an international team of physicists at the Cern laboratory using a 6-billion-pound piece of equipment, designed to uncover the secrets of the Universe, on Wednesday.