Related Topics: Awards & Honours, Science & Technology
- The Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 was awarded “for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos”.
- Peebles, of Princeton University in the United States, was awarded half the 9-million-Swedish-crown ($910,000) prize while Mayor and Queloz, from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, shared the other half.
The Nobel Winners
- James Peebles – for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology
- Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz – for discovering an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.
Award Winning Discovery
- Peebles was awarded for his theory on what happened after the Big Bang took place nearly 14 billion years ago.
- The Big Bang model describes the universe from its very first moments, almost 14 billion years ago, when it was extremely hot and dense.
- Since then, the universe has been expanding, becoming larger and colder.
- 400,000 years after the Big Bang, the universe had become transparent and light rays were able to travel through space.
- Even today, this ancient radiation is all around and, coded into it, many of the universe’s secrets are hiding.
- Using his theoretical tools and calculations developed since the mid-1960s, James Peebles was able to interpret these traces from the infancy of the universe and discover new physical processes.
- Peebles’ results showed a universe to humanity in which just five per cent of the content was known.
- Finding out the mysteries behind the remaining 95 per cent was a challenge to modern physics.
- In October 1995, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz had announced the first discovery of a planet outside the solar system.
- The discovery of the planet ‘51 Pegasi b’ from the Haute-Provence Observatory in southern France, started a revolution in astronomy and over 4,000 exoplanets have since been found in the Milky Way’.