Weston Creek’s Brian Schmidt wins one quarter of a Nobel Prize for physics

johnboy 5 October 2011 32

accelerated expansion illustrated

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has announced that ANU’s Professor Brian Schmidt has taken a share of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for “the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae”.

We extend our hearty congratulations to him.

UPDATE: Apparently he’s also a winemaker of some note with an excellent Pinot Noir to his name.

Further Update: Woroni have snagged an interview on the night:

Professor Brian Schmidt, 2011 Nobel Laureate and Distinguished Professor at the ANU, says he was “excited and bewildered” by the news that he had won a Nobel Prize in Physics. Professor Schmidt shares the prize with Adam Riess and Saul Perlmutter.

“I got a call at about 8.30,” Professor Schmidt told Woroni just hours after he received the news, “from someone with a Swedish voice, who said it was a very important call.” Did he think it might have been a prank? “The accent was very convincing”.

Another Update: No less an organ than The Economist has weighed in:

THIS year’s Nobel prize for physics was awarded for what was, in a sense literally, the biggest discovery ever made in physics—that the universe is not only expanding (which had been known since the 1920s), but that the rate of expansion is increasing. Something, in other words, is actively pushing it apart.

This was worked out by two groups who, in the 1990s, were studying exploding stars called supernovae. One was the Supernova Cosmology Project, at the University of California, Berkeley, led by Saul Perlmutter. The other was the High-z Supernova Search Team, an international project led by Brian Schmidt and involving Adam Riess, both of Harvard University. It is these three gentlemen who have shared the prize.

For those seeking more information there’s a wikipedia page on the Accelerating Universe.

Another Update: The ANU media release has this to say:

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young said:

“The ANU community is overjoyed to hear the news that Professor Brian Schmidt has won the Nobel Prize for Physics.

“Brian’s work on the expansion of the universe has changed the face of astronomy.

“His work has helped to unveil a universe that, to a large extent, was unknown to science.

“He has shown that what we see in the skies is but a tiny fraction of what is really out there.

“Brian reminds us of the infinite mysteries yet to be understood.

“ANU congratulates a great man and celebrates his magnificent achievement.”

First cab off the rank: Simon Corbell has been the first ACT politician to congratulate Professor Schmidt.

[Photo Courtesy Wikipedia]


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32 Responses to Weston Creek’s Brian Schmidt wins one quarter of a Nobel Prize for physics
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warmonga warmonga 12:05 am 07 Oct 11

I-filed said :

Um I think “Weston Creek” is referring to Mt Stromlo’s location. Prof lives near Sutton.

I am now going to refer to it as “Nobel Prize winning Weston Creek”. Suddenly we got some class!

    johnboy johnboy 12:12 am 07 Oct 11

    The Swedes put him down for Weston creek.

    I’m not going to argue.

I-filed I-filed 9:59 am 06 Oct 11

Um I think “Weston Creek” is referring to Mt Stromlo’s location. Prof lives near Sutton.

Classified Classified 8:11 am 06 Oct 11

luther_bendross said :

Classified said :

Thumper said :

“Dark Energy” is just a fudge as far as I’m aware

Isn’t that cult 80s movie with Gelflings and Skecksies?

No, that was Back To The Future. I never realised that movie was based on a true story.

You’re both confused. I believe you’re thinking of Days of Thunder, where some girl got lost in a maze and Bowie tried to steal her brother after a car race… or something.

No, I think you’ll find that one was ‘Weekend at Bernie’s 2’.

warmonga warmonga 1:00 am 06 Oct 11

What’s with the “Weston Creek” angle? I guess he lives in the creek, but what relevance does that have to anything? And if it does, why is there just a single reference?

luther_bendross luther_bendross 10:51 pm 05 Oct 11

Classified said :

Thumper said :

“Dark Energy” is just a fudge as far as I’m aware

Isn’t that cult 80s movie with Gelflings and Skecksies?

No, that was Back To The Future. I never realised that movie was based on a true story.

You’re both confused. I believe you’re thinking of Days of Thunder, where some girl got lost in a maze and Bowie tried to steal her brother after a car race… or something.

ThatUniStudent ThatUniStudent 10:05 pm 05 Oct 11

This makes me very very angry. You see that folks. The second thing that happened after the big bang? Inflation. Now there’s three things certain in life. Death, taxes and inflation. 😉

Classified Classified 9:32 pm 05 Oct 11

Thumper said :

“Dark Energy” is just a fudge as far as I’m aware

Isn’t that cult 80s movie with Gelflings and Skecksies?

No, that was Back To The Future. I never realised that movie was based on a true story.

Thumper Thumper 7:21 pm 05 Oct 11

“Dark Energy” is just a fudge as far as I’m aware

Isn’t that cult 80s movie with Gelflings and Skecksies?

Pork Hunt Pork Hunt 6:28 pm 05 Oct 11

So that’s why my girth is expanding faster than I thought. I must be be a part of the universe too….

Classified Classified 5:09 pm 05 Oct 11

johnboy said :

“Dark Energy” is just a fudge as far as I’m aware.

I get Dark Energy when I eat mexican food.

johnboy johnboy 5:04 pm 05 Oct 11

“Dark Energy” is just a fudge as far as I’m aware.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 4:53 pm 05 Oct 11

A brilliant story for a brilliant discovery.

What Schmidt and co did was rip the very rug out from under physics. But as someone said on a podcast I listened to this week, “not knowing is good – if we knew everything already we all have to just retire.”

I’ve been trying to bend my mind around this whole dark energy thing for a while now, even to the point of downloading a stack of quantum physics and cosmology lectures to try learn some of the background
I have a hypothesis that rather than something pushing the galaxies apart, it is actually just gravity pulling them together – but through another dimension. Think like the universe is the surface of a torus (donut as opposed to the wine cooler above) in this other dimension, and the gravity “well” in the “hole” is drawing the universe in at an accelerating rate.

But that’s all it is – a niggle, an idea.

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 4:04 pm 05 Oct 11

Well done!

Henry82 Henry82 2:13 pm 05 Oct 11

Well done to him! A friend has Brian as his lecturer today, which was a full class of students, reporters and other lecturers.

Waiting For Godot Waiting For Godot 1:44 pm 05 Oct 11

Thumper said :

Print, television, radio. It seems Gardner has just about exhausted all his media options and he will probably be reduced to solely posting blog messages read by nobody before long.

Interesting observation, and one would suspect, probably correct.

As I don’t listen to 2CC, what was his gripe?

Oh, he got his knickers in a twist over the heading JB put on this article – “. . . one quarter of a Nobel Prize”. He thought it was a slur and a dig.

I’m surprised 2CC still allows him behind the microphone. Whenever he gives his opinions when Mark Parton is on, a torrent of abusive calls usually follows. On the 9/11 anniversary he said that the US deserved the terrorist attacks and the US were the real terrorists.

He reminds me of people like Mr Gillespie and A Noisy Noise Annoys on this site who deliberately post over the top, outrageous comments just to get a bite and try to stir people up.

Classified Classified 11:19 am 05 Oct 11

What a great result for a local prof – well done that man!

Ozhair Ozhair 11:06 am 05 Oct 11

Darn it. I’ve been seeing Prof Schmidt around Parliament House all morning, but he’s either been in front of a camera or on his phone doing an interview, so haven’t had the chance to congratulate him 😉

New Yeah New Yeah 11:01 am 05 Oct 11

Great news for Prof Schmidt and for the ANU (whose rank in those “gloat if it’s good, no comment if it’s bad” university rankings will be buoyed by another Nobel Laureate in the ranks)

Erg0 Erg0 10:56 am 05 Oct 11

Little_Green_Bag said :

Also that this is not a news or information site, it’s just rubbish where people are allowed to slander each other.

As opposed to talkback radio, where all of the slander is unidirectional.

Thumper Thumper 10:38 am 05 Oct 11

Print, television, radio. It seems Gardner has just about exhausted all his media options and he will probably be reduced to solely posting blog messages read by nobody before long.

Interesting observation, and one would suspect, probably correct.

As I don’t listen to 2CC, what was his gripe?

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