Brits honor Stella McCartney, 'God particle' scientist

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LONDON -- Stella McCartney, who designed the uniforms worn by Britain's Olympic team, and Scottish physicist Peter Higgs, who gave his name to the so-called "God particle," are among the hundreds being honored by Queen Elizabeth II this New Year.

The Associated Press says the list is particularly heavy with the nation's Olympic heroes, but it also includes "Star Wars" actor Ewan McGregor, eccentric English singer Kate Bush, Roald Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake, and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the royal aide who helped organize the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

McCartney was honored with the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, in part for her work creating the skintight, red-white-and-blue uniforms worn by British athletes as they grabbed a national record 65 medals during the 2012 games hosted by London.

She is the daughter of Paul McCartney and his first wife, Linda.

All of Britain's gold medalists from this year were on the list, with cyclist Bradley Wiggins and sailor Ben Ainslie honored with knighthoods.

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Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London organizing committee, was made a Companion of Honor -- a prestigious title in its own right.

Higgs' achievements, which also made him a Companion of Honor, touch on the nature and the origins of the universe. The 83-year-old researcher's work in theoretical physics sought to explain what gives things weight.

His concept of what would later become known as the Higgs boson is an elusive subatomic particle that gives objects mass and combines with gravity to give them weight.

For decades, the existence of such a particle remained just a theory. It still largely is, but this year scientists working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research said they'd found compelling evidence of the Higgs boson.

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