60-Second Science

2011 Nobel Prize in Physics

Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Reiss share the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for their observations that type Ia supernovae indicate that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Steve Mirsky reports

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Saul Perlmutter at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Brian Schmidt at the Australian National Lab and Adam Reiss at Johns Hopkins. The Royal Swedish Academy’s Olga Botner:

“In a universe which is dominated by matter, one would expect gravity eventually should make the expansion slow down. Imagine then the utter astonishment when two groups of scientists headed by this year’s Nobel laureates in 1998 discovered that the expansion was not slowing down, it was actually accelerating. By comparing the brightness of distant, far-away supernovae with the brightness of nearby supernovae, the scientists discovered that the far-away supernovae were about 25 percent too faint. They were too far away. The universe was accelerating. And so this discovery is fundamental and a milestone for cosmology. And a challenge for generations of scientists to come.”

—Steve Mirsky

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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