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.
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]