A Nobel Prize in Physics “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae” Professor Brian P. Schmidt.
"Myself being an amateur astronomer and as curious as we all are, on this magical world where we currently thrive, I was honored to have recently sat in on two fantastic lectures by Nobel Prize Physics Laureate, Brian P. Schmidt. It was an honour to meet and chat with the gentleman at 20th Australian Institute of Physics Congress 2012." Eli Wolfe
For more info on this incredibly creative physicist and his team, there are a few links below along with a partial extraction of the press release marking the event from the nobelprize.org site. Enjoy!
What will be the final destiny of the Universe? Probably it will end in ice, if we are to believe this year’s Nobel Laureates in Physics. They have studied several dozen exploding stars, called supernovae, and discovered that the Universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate. The discovery came as a complete surprise even to the Laureates themselves.
In 1998, cosmology was shaken at its foundations as two research teams presented their findings. Headed by Saul Perlmutter, one of the teams had set to work in 1988. Brian Schmidt headed another team, launched at the end of 1994, where Adam Riess was to play a crucial role.
The research teams raced to map the Universe by locating the most distant supernovae. More sophisticated telescopes on the ground and in space, as well as more powerful computers and new digital imaging sensors (CCD, Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009), opened the possibility in the 1990s to add more pieces to the cosmological puzzle.
The teams used a particular kind of supernova, called type Ia supernova. It is an explosion of an old compact star that is as heavy as the Sun but as small as the Earth. A single such supernova can emit as much light as a whole galaxy. All in all, the two research teams found over 50 distant supernovae whose light was weaker than expected – this was a sign that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating. The potential pitfalls had been numerous, and the scientists found reassurance in the fact that both groups had reached the same astonishing conclusion.
For almost a century, the Universe has been known to be expanding as a consequence of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. However, the discovery that this expansion is accelerating is astounding. If the expansion will continue to speed up the Universe will end in ice.
The acceleration is thought to be driven by dark energy, but what that dark energy is remains an enigma – perhaps the greatest in physics today. What is known is that dark energy constitutes about three quarters of the Universe. Therefore the findings of the 2011 Nobel Laureates in Physics have helped to unveil a Universe that to a large extent is unknown to science. And everything is possible again.
7 INTERESTING POSSIBILITIES1. There May Be More Universes
2. The Universe Has Echoes of Its Birth
3. The Universe Is Filled With Invisible Stuff
4. The Universe Could Be Flat
5. The Universe's Growth Spurt Is Accelerating
6. The Universe Is Getting Bigger
7. The Universe Is Old (Really Old)
For more info on the four day program including plenary lectures, parallel sessions, catered poster sessions, an exhibition, public lecture and industry forum visit: http://www.aip2012.org.au/
For more info on the Nobel Prize visit:
For more info on Professor Brian P. Schmidt, visit:
Auf Wiedesehen – See you again!