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Nobel Prize Physics:three U.S. physicists share the prize for work on how universe is expanding at ever-faster rate.


Three U.S. scientists have discovered that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating, not slowing down as previously thought.

The discovery, found by measuring the light from distant supernova explosions, turned the world of physics upside down – as well as the lives of the three American scientists who have been awarded a Nobel Prize for their findings.

The Nobel Prize for Physics winners studied dozens of exploding stars and realized that the expansion of the universe wasn't slowing down, as expected - it was accelerating

The Nobel Prize for Physics winners studied dozens of exploding stars and realized that the expansion of the universe wasn't slowing down, as expected - it was accelerating

 

Half of the 10 million Swedish crown – $1.5million – Nobel Prize money went to Saul Perlmutter and the rest to two members of a second team which conducted similar work – American-born Brian Schmidt, who is based in Australia, and Adam Riess.

Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter

Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter

Nobel Committee for Physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in its statement that the discovery was made by looking at distant supernovae – which should have been becoming “brighter” as their acceleration away from our planet slowed down.

But instead of their light becoming brighter, it was fading.

“The surprising conclusion was that the expansion of the universe is not slowing down. Quite to the contrary, it is accelerating,” the Nobel committee said.

Nobel Prize winner Brian Schmidt

Nobel Prize winner Brian Schmidt

At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Adam Riess, who was still in his 20s when the research was published, joked to a colleague that he had been quick to react to a pre-dawn call from Stockholm:


“When I picked up the phone early this morning and I heard Swedish voices, I knew it wasn’t IKEA.”

Nobel Prize winner Adam Riess

Nobel Prize winner Adam Riess

Among the most exciting possible developments from study of dark energy would be a way to reconcile anomalies between physical laws observed at the subatomic level – quantum physics – with the laws Albert Einstein described.