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The points of the theories of Peter Higgs and Alan Guth are many orders of magnitude different in size and yet they are as nearly identical as it is possible to be. The physical proof of Guth’s theory, of how our Universe came to be as it is, was slow in coming but it finally did arrive this year. His original theoretical observations were published back in 1980. They concerned the expansion of our universe, the biggest observable thing there is, during the first second of its existence. In contrast Higgs’ theory refers to the tiniest of things, the eponymous Higgs boson, just observed last year in tiny explosions at the ATLAS high energy hadron particle collider. His theory was published in the 1960s. Both of these men’s work is inextricably pulled together both theoretically and in physical reality by gravity, and what gravity has pulled together I will leave together for the Probaway Person of the Year 2015.

A photo of Alan Guth

Alan Guth, creator of the theory of the first few seconds of the Universe including gravity. – Picture derived from Steve Pyke, Esquire magazine 17March2014

Photo of Peter Higgs

Peter Higgs created the theory of the Higgs boson. It was just proven to exist this year in subatomic particles. It is the source of mass, that is gravity. – Picture derived from theguardian.com 6Dec13

What they each discovered could be found anywhere in the Universe, by any technologically sophisticated civilization, because it is so fundamental to our existence. But, on our Earth it was Higgs and Guth that discovered these fundamental things for us.

The complete up-to-present list of – Probaway Person of the Year:

  • 2017 – Albert Einstein for predicting black holes, their collisions creating gravity waves, and the laser for observing the gravity waves.
  • 2016 – Xi Jinping for taking China from a backward economy to the most powerful one on Earth.
  • 2015 – Peter Higgs and Alan Guth created theories that lead to proofs this year of mass and gravity sources.
  • 2014 – Jennifer Doudna created a method for insertion of designed DNA precisely into existing DNA.
  • 2013 – Plague Inc. is a computer game that explores the problems of creating a disease that will kill every last human being on Earth.
  • 2012 – Zebrafish research-technique advances made it possible to observe drug interactions within living animals.
  • 2011 – Craig Venter laid the groundwork for creating entirely new forms of life (greater than species) out of computer-generated DNA sequences.
  • 2010 – Nadya Suleman (Octomom) and the society that created this travesty of good sense will be remembered into the distant future by many hungry people.
  • 2009 – Jimmy Wales for Wikipedia, which will be still be used after our current computer operating systems are surpassed and forgotten.
  • 2008 – Cesar Millan (the dog whisperer) because he shows people how to relate to dogs and people much better than anyone else. His videos and techniques will be remembered and used as long as there are people and dogs.

These may seem like strange choices but they are potentially long-term-memorable events which had a major tipping point the year before their selection.