nobelphysics 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Leif R Jansson)
STOCKHOLM - Three scientists shared the 2011 Nobel Prize for physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of exploding stars, the prize committee said on Tuesday.
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One half of the 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.45 million) went to US citizen Saul Perlmutter and the other half to US-Australian citizen Brian Schmidt and US scientist Adam Riess.
"They have studied several dozen exploding stars, called supernovae, and discovered that the universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate," said the Nobel Committee for Physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the prize.
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, said the
committee, noting if the expansion continues to speed up, the Universe
will end frozen, the prize committee said.
"The discovery came as a complete surprise, even to the laureates themselves," the committee added in a statement.
The Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded for both pioneering discoveries and
groundbreaking inventions in recent years, has been awarded 105 times
Yesterday, the Nobel Prize in Medicine
was awarded to American
Bruce Beutler, French biologist Jules Hoffmann and the Canadian-born Ralph Steinman
, who died last Friday.