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Nobel Prize in Physics goes to expanding-universe researchers

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October 4, 2011

The Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011 has been awarded to three scientists, whose research p...

The Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011 has been awarded to three scientists, whose research proved that the Universe's rate of expansion is increasing

For almost a hundred years, it has been widely accepted that the Universe is expanding, and that it's been doing so ever since the Big Bang occurred approximately 14 billion years ago. It was initially assumed that the rate of expansion was slowly declining. What came as a surprise to many scientists, however, was the relatively recent announcement that the rate is in fact increasing. That was the remarkable conclusion reached by three physicists located in two countries, and it has just earned them the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011.

Half of the 10 million Swedish krona (about US$1.5 million) in prize money went to Saul Perlmutter, based out of the University of California, Berkeley's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The other half went jointly to Brian P. Schmidt of Australian National University, and Adam G. Riess of Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute.

In 1988, Perlmutter set about leading his Supernova Cosmology Project team to visually locate the most distant supernovae. Schmidt launched the competing High-z Supernova Search Team in 1994, in collaboration with Riess.

Both teams were searching for a specific variety of supernova, known as type Ia (with an upper-case "i"). This sort of supernova results from the explosion of a white dwarf, a compact star that is as small as the earth but as heavy as the Sun. Just one type Ia supernova can emit as much light as an entire galaxy, over the course of a few weeks.

The two teams found 50 such supernovae in total, although their light was weaker than anticipated - this was apparently because they were farther from the earth than expected, which indicated that the Universe's rate of expansion is increasing. The two teams were bolstered by the fact that they had each separately reached the same conclusion, based on the same data.

Although the expansion of the Universe is thought to be driven by dark energy, just what dark energy is is still anyone's guess. Perhaps another Nobel prize awaits the people who can provide the answer.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
6 Comments

The first sentence of the article is not a scientific statement,

but a statement of religious belief.

The basis of the article proves what?

Two teams with the same starting bias,

reach the same end conclusion,

analysing the same data,

and share a 10,000,000 Swedish Krona prize for their efforts.

2640-3690
4th October, 2011 @ 07:37 pm PDT

not sure if anyone will know the answer to this, but ...

"If the universe is expanding"... what is it expanding into?

CuriousB

curiousb
5th October, 2011 @ 05:58 am PDT

The universe is an expansion OF space.

for more info google: sciam expanding universe

Paegus
5th October, 2011 @ 09:51 am PDT

Sounds as if you might have a starting bias you would prefer, 2640-3690?

Arf
5th October, 2011 @ 10:09 am PDT

Why would a scientist "assume"? Based on the law of cause/effect bodies in motion cannot change speed without energy. Therefore if one "assumes" a slowdown, one must show the cause (energy). Is gravity exerting a slowdown force? Is that force enough to overcome the energy with caused the initial explosion? What explosive force was that? How much? Have any of these questions been answered?

I don't trust the assumption of dark matter. It needs to be proven before it can be used to justify more assumptions, e.g., dark matter causes the acceleration of galaxies.

voluntaryist
5th October, 2011 @ 01:08 pm PDT

The observation of type Ia supernovae showed that the cosmological redshift of distant galaxies does not comply with the calculations on the basis of the Doppler effect (the Big Bang theory) and is subject to exponential law of damped oscillations, where the Hubble constant represents parameter of the attenuation electromagnetic oscillations. That is to say that Hubble constant - is quantum amount by which photon's frequency decreases in one period of oscillation. To determine by how much the frequency of the photon has decreased, the Hubble constant must be multiplied by the number of the committed oscillations that is completely consistent with the results obtained by the modern method of "standard candles" (Nobel Prize 2011).

A report in the MSU "Hubble's quantum law" (13.03.2013):

http://alemanow.narod.ru/hubbles.htm

Sergey Alemanov
5th September, 2013 @ 12:55 pm PDT
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