For Nobel Prize in Physics, a 3-Way Triumph

The work revolves around discovery of an exoplanet, 'discoveries in physical cosmology'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 8, 2019 6:07 AM CDT
Updated Oct 8, 2019 6:27 AM CDT
Nobel Winners 'Took on the Cosmos,' Sought Unknown Worlds
In this Sept. 16, 2009, file photo, Swiss astrophysicist Didier Queloz poses in front of a picture of the Milky Way at the Geneva Observatory in Geneva.   (Salvatore Di Nolfi, Keystone via AP)

Three scientists have won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics for their contribution to the understanding of the evolution of the universe and "Earth's place in the cosmos," a day after two Americans and one British scientist were bestowed the award for physiology or medicine. One half of the award was given to James Peebles "for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology," and the other half jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz "for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star," the AP reports. They will share a $918,000 cash award, a gold medal, and a diploma, which they'll receive at a ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10. "This year's Nobel Prize in Physics rewards new understanding of the universe's structure and history, and the first discovery of a planet orbiting a solar-type star outside our solar system," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says in a release.

To earn his part of the award, Peebles, a Canadian American, "took on the cosmos," working for 20 years on a theoretical framework that now serves as the foundation for our knowledge of the universe's history, from the Big Bang to today, per an information sheet. Meanwhile, Mayor and Queloz, Swiss scientists, have been looking for "unknown worlds" in the Milky Way, and in 1995 discovered 51 Pegasi b, orbiting a solar-type star—the first discovery of a planet outside our solar system. "This year's Laureates have transformed our ideas about the cosmos ... and forever changed our conceptions of the world," the Swedish Academy notes. Coming up later this week on the Nobel front: an award in chemistry (to be announced Wednesday), this year's double-header literature prizes on Thursday, and the Peace Prize on Friday. The economics prize will be awarded Monday.

(More Nobel Prize stories.)

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