Physics Nobel Prize 2011 - Brian Schmidt
About this video
Measuring the fate of the universe.
Brian Schmidt is an astrophysicist at the Australian National University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics In 2011 alongside fellow astronomers Adam Riess and Saul Perlmutter.
For a long time astronomers thought the universe was static but, by studying explosions of distant stars known as supernovae the trio demonstrated the accelerating expansion of the universe.
The explosions are capable of emitting as much light as a whole galaxy, but on closer inspection Schmidt, Riess and Perlmutter noticed the light appeared faint and deduced that the stars must be moving away from us as the universe expands.
The expansion of the universe is thought to be caused by dark energy. This energy constitutes nearly three quarters of the universe and causes gravity to work in reverse, pulling galaxies apart rather than holding them together. But little is known about dark energy, and so questions remain about what lies in store for the universe. Will it expand forever? Or will it slow down, reach a maximum size and eventually collapse?
- Dr Derek Muller
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