Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2011 Nobel Physics Prize winners announced

Source: NHK World
Date: Tuesday, October 04, 2011 21:00 +0900 (JST)

This year's Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to US and Australian cosmologists for discovering the accelerating expansion of the universe.

The Nobel committee in Stockholm announced on Tuesday that the winners are Saul Pelmutter of the University of California at Berkeley, Adam Riess of Johns Hopkins University, and Brian Schmidt of the Australian National University.

They found that the universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate by observing light generated in supernova explosions when huge stars die.

The discovery proves that a mysterious property called dark energy increases the rate of cosmic expansion and accounts for about 70 percent of the mass-energy of the universe. This means that stars, galaxies and other substances are only a small part of the universe.

The committee says the discovery has shaken cosmology from its foundation, and that dark energy remains the greatest enigma in physics.