2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for the Accelerating Expansion of the Universe
Background information and a statement by AIP executive director and CEO
College Park, Md., October 4, 2011 — The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics will be awarded to Saul Perlmutter of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley; Brian Schmidt of the Australian National University; and Adam Riess of Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute, both in Baltimore, Md., "for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae," a discovery that reshaped our understanding of the cosmos and the ultimate fate of the universe.
Announced in 1998 by two research teams — one headed by Saul Perlmutter, which began its work in 1988, and the other by Brian Schmidt, which began its work in 1994 and was later joined by Adam Riess — the idea that the expansion of the universe was accelerating surprised the scientific community, but is now a well-established cornerstone of modern cosmology. The discovery:
Last year's prize was awarded to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of the University of Manchester, U.K., for their pioneering work with graphene, a single-atom-thick sheet of carbon. http://journals.aip.org/Nobel2010.html
"It's really a fitting prize. This year's Nobel Prize in Physics recognizes a startling new revelation in our understanding of the cosmos. Based on measurements from the last 15 years, we now know that the expansion of our universe is not slowing, as was believed since the Big Bang theory first emerged, but that its expansion is actually accelerating. This acceleration has been the dominant force in the cosmos since our universe was about half its current age. This discovery also provides additional insights into Einstein's theory of general relativity, a cornerstone of physics and our understanding of the universe. So this discovery not only helps us understand the evolution of the universe, but it also gives us new insights into how it may end.
It shows science at its best, where a startling discovery was made and confirmed by two independent teams."
— Dr. H. Frederick Dylla, executive director and CEO, American Institute of Physics
Physics Today Article by Saul Perlmutter:
Supernovae, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Universe
Pictures and Graphics:
NSF Videos on Dark Energy:
Additional Audio Interviews on Nobel Prize in General:
H. Frederick Dylla:
Greg Good is the director of the American Institute of Physics' Center on the History of Physics.
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Experts in the General Subject Area
Michael S. Turner, University of Chicago
Garth Illingworth, Lick Observatory
Rachel Bean, Cornell University
Anthony Tyson, UC Davis
Kevin Marvel, Executive Director, American Astronomical Society
Nobel Prize site:
NSF resource pages:
APS News relevant article:
Past Nobel laureates in physics:
Free AIP Journal Articles Published by the Nobel Laureates
The Nearby Supernova Factory dataset-improving SNe Ia as dark energy probes
Seeing Dark Energy
Cepheid Variables in the Antennae
The SH0ES Project: Observations of Cepheids in NGC 4258 and Type Ia SN Hosts
Seeing Dark Energy 10 Years Later
The Supernova Type Ia Rate Evolution with SNLS
The Peculiar Type Ia Supernova 2005hk
Type Ia supernova diversity: Standardizing the candles
Kinematics and Dark Energy from Supernovae at z > 1
Towards Measuring the Cosmic Gamma-Ray Burst Rate
Rapid Identification of Optical Afterglows: Bright Prospects
Supernovae, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Universe
Supernovae, dark energy, and the accelerating universe: What next?
Evidence from Type Ia supernovae for an accelerating universe
A high peculiarity rate for Type Ia SNe
Cosmological parameters from supernovae: Two groups' results agree
A one-meter aperture wide-field camera for the Japanese exposure module on space station
A search for gamma-ray burst optical emission with the automated patrol telescope
Automated search for supernova explosions
Journalists are welcome to use AIP's W.F. Meggers Gallery of Nobel Laureates, which contains a collection of all the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics up to 2010, as well as physicists who have received a Nobel Prize in other areas (e.g. Chemistry or Peace).
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