Nobel Prize winner refuses street name

The Belgian Nobel Prize winner François Englert has rejected an offer made by the Brussels municipality of Elsene to have a street named after him. Mr Englert refused because the street would be created as part of a controversial real estate project.

François Englert (81) is a Belgian physicist who won last year's Nobel Prize together with Peter Higgs. The Baron is a Professor Emeritus at the Francophone Brussels University ULB.

The new street that would be named after him, would come right on the ULB university campus. The campus covers 10 hectares and is as such the biggest green area in Elsene. However, the site is being threatened by a real estate project for luxury flats by Universalis Park.

A platform called "Sauvez la Plaine" (save the open space) was created. It managed to assemble 200 local residents to stage a protest action for the occasion of a session at the town council. Mr Englert apparently supports the action and has decided to refuse to give his name to one of the streets. Members of the protest movement claim the project poses a threat to local biodiversity and denounce the fact that there is no room for student housing.