"It takes time. This is one of the biggest prizes," he said. "There were many people who had a lot to say." He also said the academy couldn't reach Higgs, one of the winners, before the announcement, but wouldn't say whether that's what caused the delay.
WHAT MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO SELECT WINNERS?
Many scientific discoveries are group efforts but a Nobel Prize can be shared by no more than three people, according to the Nobel statutes. So deciding who has made the most significant contribution can be difficult.
Many outside experts had speculated that Higgs and Englert would win this year's prize, but some had thought the committee would also include someone from the CERN laboratory in Geneva. That's where the particle that Higgs and Englert had predicted in their theories was actually discovered last year. The problem was that thousands of scientists were involved in those CERN experiments.
Nobel Prizes can be given to organizations instead of people — the Nobel Peace Prize committee does it a lot — but it's never been done for any of the science awards. Academy officials wouldn't say why they left out CERN or its scientists, sticking to their tradition of only talking about those who won.
At least for the next 50 years.
Associated Press writer Karl Ritter in Stockholm contributed this report.