Three scientists shared the 2011 Nobel Prize for physics for the discovery that the expansion of the universe is speeding up, the Nobel prize committee announced today. Half of the $1.5 million prize went to American Saul Perlmutter and the rest to two members of a second team which conducted similar work: American Adam Riess and U.S.-born Brian Schmidt, who is based in Australia. All three made the discovery through observations of distant supernovae.
Perlmutter is from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley, and worked on the Supernova Cosmology Project. Schmidt is from the Australian National University and Riess is from the Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore. They worked together on the High-z Supernova Search Team.
In response to the announcement, Professor Sir Peter Knight, President of the Institute of Physics, said, “The recipients of today’s award are at the frontier of modern astrophysics and have triggered an enormous amount of research on dark energy.
“These researchers have opened our eyes to the true nature of our Universe. They are very well-deserved recipients.”
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.