Cosmos explorers win Nobel Prize for Physics

World | REUTERS 9 Oct 2019

Canadian-American cosmologist James Peebles and Swiss scientists Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz won the Nobel Prize for Physics yesterday for shedding light on the evolution of the universe and discovering planets orbiting distant suns.

Peebles, of Princeton University in the United States, was awarded half the prize of nine million Swedish crowns (HK$7.14 million) while Mayor and Queloz, from the University of Geneva, shared the other half.

"This year's Laureates have transformed our ideas about the cosmos," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said. "While James Peebles' theoretical discoveries contributed to our understanding of how the universe evolved after the Big Bang, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz explored our cosmic neighborhoods in the hunt for unknown planets. Their discoveries have forever changed our conceptions of the world."

Among the Nobels, physics has often taken center stage with winners featuring some of the greatest names in science like Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Niels Bohr, as well as inventors such as radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi.

Using theoretical tools and calculations, Peebles, 84, was able to interpret trace radiation from the infancy of the universe and so discover new physical processes.

Mayor, 77, and Queloz, 53, announced the first discovery of a planet outside the solar system, a so-called "exoplanet," starting a revolution in astronomy.

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