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

By johnboy - 4 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.

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
Classified 11:19 am 05 Oct 11

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

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 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 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 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?

johnboy 10:32 am 05 Oct 11

Jorian’s much more interested in what I do than I am in what he does.

What on earth was he worked up about?

(And how does he verify the names people use for that matter)

Little_Green_Bag 10:27 am 05 Oct 11

Did you hear the rather extraordinary spray Jorian Gardner gave this post (and RA in general) on 2CC this morning? He said JB and the others should be taken out back and given a flogging. Also that this is not a news or information site, it’s just rubbish where people are allowed to slander each other. He also said that 2CC is far better because talkback callers identify themselves (hello John from Reid, or Kambah or is that Dave?).

Gardner would have had a lot more credibility had he not admitted on air three days ago that he is “a Lefty”, a cardinal sin for someone presenting a program on commercial talk radio. Also, if he hadn’t made such a fool of himself when employed by City News and WIN News.

I could well imagine Mark Parton – who usually does the shift – listening to this in frustration and wondering how he’ll fix the damage when he returns from holiday.

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.

Stevian 10:16 am 05 Oct 11

poetix said :

johnboy said :

poetix said :

Reasons to go to ANU, #1.

If you’re doing post-doc astronomy.

I meant they attract the best researchers in their fields, of which Professor Schmidt is the prime example, and that that is what a university should be about.

Last time I try to be overly succinct!

Also the diagram look like a wine cooler.

The majority of the recipients of this Nobel award for Physics are NOT with the ANU, which invalidates your claim

poetix 10:08 am 05 Oct 11

johnboy said :

poetix said :

Reasons to go to ANU, #1.

If you’re doing post-doc astronomy.

I meant they attract the best researchers in their fields, of which Professor Schmidt is the prime example, and that that is what a university should be about.

Last time I try to be overly succinct!

Also the diagram looks like a wine cooler.

pajs 10:05 am 05 Oct 11

Fantastic news. Great to see a thoroughly decent bloke get this recognition.

johnboy 10:02 am 05 Oct 11

poetix said :

Reasons to go to ANU, #1.

If you’re doing post-doc astronomy.

poetix 10:00 am 05 Oct 11

Reasons to go to ANU, #1.

Jim Jones 9:09 am 05 Oct 11

Awesome stuff.

Where are the usual suspects whining about the ‘University of East Bumcrack’?

Deref 7:23 am 05 Oct 11

Absolutely wonderful. Brian is the kind of person we should be holding up to our kids as a role model.

WhyTheLongFace 12:50 am 05 Oct 11

What an amazing achievement! Thoroughly deserved.

Canberra should be proud to have such an amazing resident.

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