Feeds

back to article Accelerating universe expansion discovery snags Nobel Prize

A discovery first published in 1998 has won the Nobel Prize for Physics for three astronomers, including Brian Schmidt of the Australian National University. Competing with Saul Perlmutter of the University of California and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and working with Adam Riess of the Johns Hopkins University …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

Bloody clever

I always think its funny how the greatest discoveries so often have a particularly beautiful but logical simplicity to them - the simplicity at least being very much in hindsight. It's that ability to cut through the chaff, peppered with a little intuition and good fortune, that separates the great from the merely very, very good.

Can someone remind me why scientists are so often poorly paid, but bankers are too often paid the equivalent to the budgets of important scientific projects?

Hats off to you gents for shining a little more light into the dark corners.

16
0

Why Perlmutter? He only confirmed the findings of the Aussie and his team. Perlmutter had no idea of the acceleration, ----- his studies concerned the slowing down of the universe. Aussie and co only requested him to look in his data to confirm their findings. Perlmutter came on strong to the media claiming to be part of the discovery. He may have had the data but he sure didn't know it. According to the records it was a race between two teams and the Aussie folks won, so why does a self appointed leader get the lion's share of the prize? It's a bit thick I say, ---- It's like Michelson and Morely having a joint claim on Einstein's fame since they started the study.

0
0
Holmes

What if They're Wrong?

What if the universe isn't homogenous and we are in a localized "current" that only makes the universe look like it's expanding, requiring "dark energy" to make all the pieces fit? Do they have to give the award and money back?

1
1

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

"What if the universe isn't homogenous"

The problem is, we will never know.

0
1

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Congratulations to a fellow Canberran!

(although I still think the universe will eventually reach a state of equilibrium where it is neither expanding nor contracting: the symmetry of this just works for me)

1
1

This post has been deleted by its author

This post has been deleted by its author

Happy

"For such a respected institution to declare to the public as true something that cannot be demonstrated and remains somewhat controversial is... impressive"

Isn't this the same institution that gave Obama the Peace Prize?

2
1
FAIL

The Nobel organization

Technically, no. The Nobel Peace Prize is handed out in Oslo, Norway and not in Sweden.

A group of old washed out politicians are put into a dark pit and asked to fight it out. The winner gets to decide who wins the peace prize.

The Nobel Peace Prize committee do not consult with any professionals, nor do they publish any papers with detailed information on why they picked the winner.

The other Nobel prize winners are mostly judged by their peers, and it is my understanding that they publish a thorough paper explaining why they picked that winner.

The peace prize, quite frankly, is currently a joke. (I realize your smiley means you probably know this already, but I just wanted to emphasize that there are some vital differences between the Peace Prize and the other Nobel awards)

1
0

nb:

"Still, the Riess et al and Perlmutter papers were persuasive direct observational evidence"

And this is what counts: the Nobel Prizes (at least in Physics) /tend/ to be awarded for practical and/or experimental results, rather than theoretical breakthroughs or concepts.

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

Dark Energy ?

Why invent new stuff just to explain things ? Surely the simplest explanation is usually correct.

I would postulate that benevolent noodly appendages are pushing those nasty novas away from His chosen people.

Keeping that 2005 vibe going...

2
1
Anonymous Coward

it probaby best

to consider "dark energy" as a sort of placeholder for a better explanation. It make be turn out to be some kind of exotic (or perhaps even unexpectedly dull) energy or matter inhabiting a conventional General-Relativistic universe, or it might be that GR needs fixing and that "dark energy" is merely a symptom of some theoretical failing.

"Dark energy" might or might not be a good name for the answer, whatever it is. But the discrepancy between expected behaviour and measured behaviour has to be called something, and ATM it looks a bit like there's some energy there we can't see. Hence "dark energy".

2
1
Boffin

hmmm...

So what is the force driving the acceleration?

Or is it attraction to something "outside" the universe?

As to the missing 70% mass of the universe? that's easy - sleeping cats.

A cat while awake is easily lifted. Once the cat is asleep, on top of the duvet behind your knees, the cat has become an immovable object hence its mass must have increased by several orders of magnitude.

5
0
Silver badge

Surely when the cat is asleep you have to consider its rest mass instead?

1
0
Holmes

Red-shift Does Not Necessarily Indicate Velocity - Hence No Expansion At All?

Essentially it appears that all universe expansion theories are predicated on the assumption also used here that "red-shift indicates velocity". Not necessarily! For example in galaxy NGC 4319, there is a quasar ejected from its parent galaxy that has a very different red shift from the galaxy itself. http://lempel.pagesperso-orange.fr/red_shift_NGC_4319_uk.htm. If both were accelerating away from us, the red shift should be the same.

Anyway, clearly red-shift does not necessarily equate to accleration or velocity, so something else is going on - if this were to disprove expansion of the universe, then a lot of scientists having invested zillions in research into this would be a bit embarrassed - or hopefully open minded enough to digest new data, facts and observations dispassionately and adapt their theories accordingly. (But odd how photo press releases were issued of this phenomenon with the 'bridge' of material between the galaxy and quasar removed).

1
1

Not sure why he got downvoted - he's correct. Redshift isn't necessarily due to acceleration. Wave particle duality says so.

You can think of redshift in the classical sense of the wavelength being "stretched" by the acceleration, however wavelength in photons is related to their energy. Drop the energy and you increase the wavelength (i.e. get redshift).

If you have the photons absorbed and re-emitted at a lower energy you get redshift, it's just not acceleration based.

Personally I'm not 100% convinced of the acceleration of the outer bodies of the universe - there's so much crap between them and us re-emission is pretty much guaranteed. The work done by these guys is still pretty darned impressive, I just remain to be convinced.

2
0

This post has been deleted by its author

When Theories Don't Match Observation

"in the standard model of cosmology the redshift is actually gravitational in origin and not coming from a physical "velocity"."

Isn't that the point? Can we demonstrate gravitational origin of red-shift? When theories do not match observation and laboratory experiments, then the theory should be changed. My worry is that there are so many vested interests and reputations built on the 'standard model of cosmology', I wonder whether inconvenient new evidence that doesn't fit the model is sidelined rather than embraced and the model updated.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Cosmological redshift

In astronomy, there are just three types of redshift, (a) Doppler, due to motion (b) Gravitational (c) Cosmological, due to expansion. Doppler redshift is demonstrated in the laboratory, gravitational redshift is testable in space. But cosmological redshift is basic made up (sorry, a theory) to explain its high values.

Most other kinds of redshift, such as tired light theories, don't work because they are not frequency/wavelength independent, and so would cause blurring, or doublets/triplets in spectra. However, under some circumstance, the Wolf Effect will produce frequency independent redshifts that is indistinguishable from the Doppler redshift, AND, has been demonstrated in the laboratory. The only other type of redshift that looks promising is the plasma redshift. See:

http://www.plasma-universe.com/Wolf_effect

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2009ASPC..413..169B

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Cosmological/gravitational redshift

"Cosmological redshift" is nothing other than gravitational redshift

The Cosmological Redshift is considered to be due to the expansion of space, and has nothing to do with gravity,

Quantum Celestial Mechanics(QCM), considers that some "Cosmological redshifts" are gravitational, butt QCM is itself yet another new theory. See:

http://www.ptep-online.com/index_files/2007/PP-09-06.PDF (PDF)

0
0

It's All Crazy Until We Investigate and Find Out It's Not!

You've lost me in the detail a bit there. But I still think the main issue is that 'conventional' science can charge headlong into propogating a theory, not necessarily correct, that becomes self-perpetuating and self-sustaining killing off all other alternatives.

Galileo of course was considered crazy in his time by supporting the idea that the earth orbitted the sun rather than vice versa.

If just perhaps 1% of the research budget used to build the CMB model over the years was spent investigating seriously other 'crazy' ideas, perhaps we'd find they were not so crazy after all? This would save us pushing further down research avenues that will ultimately end in a dead-end, spending millions of pounds in the process.

0
0

I used to think that Nobel prizes were given out to people that have undertaken great work in the advancement and for benefit of mankind. Silly me, but detecting that galaxies are moving faster and faster away from us, not really sure how that benefits mankind.

0
3
Stop

Yup, silly you

From Nobel's will:

“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- - -/ one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics ...”

"... as judged by El Reg commentard TkH11", it fails to continue.....

The importance of discoveries and inventions is judged by the prize committees. That's why they exist.

0
0
GBE

What exactly does "rate accelerating" mean?

The article says that the "rate of expansion of the universe is accelerating". Does that mean that the 2nd derivitive of expansion rate with respect to time is positive? Or just that the rate of expansion is increasing (1st derivitive is positive)?

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge
Joke

So

Who was the chap who said that the rate of expansion is not increasing, such an illogical thought.

According to this article it was the same guy who won the Nobel Prize.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.