Physics Nobel Prize, 2011, Awarded To Cosmology Team For Observing Acceleration of Universe Expansion

The Physics Nobel goes to Cosmology Team for their observation of the accelerating expansion of the Universe. This led to the hypothesis of Dark Energy. Names of winners follow.

Physics Nobel is the most prestigious Nobel, feel many, especially since Alfred Nobel himself mentioned it first in his will. The fascination with Physics Nobel winners of the last century is understandable, given the huge names, which would’ve still been big without the Nobel. For 2011, the forerunners of the Nobel seem to be Alain Aspect (famous for his Aspect Experiment on the EPR effect), John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger.

Quantum Physics has been the dominant buzz word surrounding this year’s prize. The other contenders include Yakir Aharanov (one half of the Aharanov-Bohm effect duo) and Micheal Berry (of Berry Phase fame). The dark horse in the race has been the neutrino team. The Nobel might go to experimental team looking to verify and measure neutrino oscillations. Arnold McDonald at SNOlab along with two Japanese physicists from the Super Kamiokande experiment.

And the Winner Is …

The 2011  Physics Nobel Prize goes to Saul Perlmutter (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley), Prof. Brian Schmidt (High Z Supernova search team, Australian National University, Weston Creek, Australia) and Prof. Adam Reiss (High Z Supernova search team, Australian National University, Weston Creek, Australia). While Permutter got half the Prize, the other half went jointly to Schmidt and Reiss.  The citation reads “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae”.

The Universe was supposed to slow down according the General Theory of Relativity. The observation by Schmidt and Reiss confirmed that the Universe is not only expanding, but also accelerating.

A webcast from the Nobel Committee in Sweden is to follow. Here’s the webcast link:

The Chemistry Nobel Prize winner will be announced tomorrow. The prizes will be given out on the 10th of December.
Below is a small animation explaining the 2011 Physics Nobel with narration by Sean Carroll, Caltech Physicist. Enjoy

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Debjyoti Bardhan

Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.