Physics Nobel Prize 2011 – Brian Schmidt

October 23, 2011 by 34 Comments



The Nobel Prize for physics in 2011 was awarded to Brian Schmidt, Adam Riess, and Saul Perlmutter for discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. This finding was completely unexpected because it was thought that gravity should slow the expansion of the cosmos. The best current explanation of why the universe is accelerating is that there is some energy tied to empty space which pushes matter apart. This ‘Dark Energy’ makes up 73% of the universe but is very difficult to detect. Images courtesy of NASA/NASAimages.org and Maritza A. Lara-Lopez

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34 Replies to “Physics Nobel Prize 2011 – Brian Schmidt”

  1. acemad1 says:

    Admit it! You squeeked like a squirrel when the balloon popped!

  2. eXtremeDR says:

    If the universe really explodes at the end then this might be the big bang for the next round. I hope it's not just repetition – if so then we should start to think about a way to backup data for the next round ^^

  3. I was so scared of the moment the ballon popps:D its always so fun and unpredictable!

  4. Both research teams may be right. Who said that universe is a perfect sphere and it expands in every direction at the same speed? Maybe those two teams were looking at different parts of universe, that's why they have different results, and when one part of universe is slowing down the other is speeding up.  Or maybe they were watching galaxies in the same part of the sky but in different distance, so they were watching different periods of universe history, and that’s why they have different results. What about volume of the universe? Is the increase of the volume speeding up, slowing down or is it constans?

  5. The universe is different than that balloon as the galaxies themselves are not expanding. The gravity within them is too strong.
    But since the space expansion is accelerating, it will eventually be fast enough to rip galaxies apart, and the universe will be a lonely place. Then it will be fast enough to pull planets away from their stars, then moons from their planets, and finally rip apart the planets and stars themselves. The space inside atoms will expand so rapidly that electrons will be unable to orbit the nucleus. Ouch.

  6. Meshwork123 says:

    I once heard Brian Schmidt say that there is the possibility of infinite universes. If there ARE infinite universes, then each universe would really have to be a sub-universe, since universe means everything – all matter and void, and here, ALL sub-universes. So, the claim that dark energy is 73 percent of the universe, the universe being the infinite collection of sub-universes, is illogical, since you cannot have a percentage of infinity.

    With his dark energy claim, Brian Schmidt consequently needs to either change his terminology of universe to sub-universe, or withdraw his claim altogether.

  7. Well it can't end bc energy can't its gonna expand until it reaches a pointmwhere dark mattar isthe full 100 percent then there will be no energy so everything dies bc energy is everything unless otherwise there's something that's made out of no adams but everything is made by adams so it i
    Will just go into nothing but blackness with nothing living no stars no planets no nothing cause dark energy is not a energy source we have yet to find out how to control or make stuff from it we have no clue if something is made by dark adams but bc we don't know yet we probaly think that no no dark energy source or dark adams so we whould say my theory is right cause energy is all we know of its a power source and is regular adams soo everything dies but the universe it would be a universe of nothing but nothing

  8. DynnoJMelloe says:

    Why is it that it's either expansion to infinity or collapse? Cant gravity and whatever dark energy is coexist to create a stable space? 

  9. Andromeda is blue shifting!

  10. Akmal Danial says:

    Every galaxy is, but Andromeda.

  11. Ka Ho Tam says:

    each fragment of the balloon's explosion is a new universe!

  12. Lxender says:

    7:03 but in silent

  13. deepstrasz says:

    Really? I think the expandable and retractable balloon cycle theory was nicer. It gave it a flavour of infinity. Blowing up suddenly would be like an impossibility. I mean, are we sure that space is not infinite to begin with and the galaxies are just going through it? That wouldn't result in a margin/border being ruptured. If the universe has borders, what's beyond them?

  14. Serenity17 says:

    1:00 clearly fake… wtf

  15. ARCoventry says:

    If our universe is part of something bigger we're gonna need a a new word for it, or maybe we could just call it the universe's peel kinda like a banana, lol or the Twoniverse

  16. Its still crazy to think that space is endless. Like wtf???

  17. We pay far too much respect for our axiomatic beliefs, most of which are eventually discredited. How can we be certain that red shift from a distant light source is due entirely or even partly to Doppler shift?

    The Greeks made beautiful models of the universe that worked 'almost' perfectly called celestial spheres. They became as complicated as quantum theory to account for planetary motions, but how could Mars reverse itself, circle backwards and then resume its normal path? Oh well, if it works "most of the time" then it must be converging on the truth, right?

    This is where we are with cosmogony, which has no useful purpose other than to offer some alternate book of Genesis. We may believe in what we want when we have no proofs but I do not think cosmogony should be labeled science even if it employs all of the artifacts of modern science.

  18. Mr. LoveJoy says:

    I'm not satisfied with that answer. Universe is not just going to pop out of existence.

  19. You blew up the universe mate!

  20. did anyone else notice the swastika on the balloon 2:29

  21. sahan Pslv says:

    If any one is interested with Brian Schmidt study then they can go to edx and search for Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe
    ANUx – ANU-ASTRO1x course

  22. MrGodofcars says:

    Halton Arp disproved the big bang theory and the expanding universe model by proving that the redshift is not related to distance or velocity. The law of conservation of mass and energy tells us that the universe is eternal, and cannot have had a begin nor will have and end. Dark energy is ad hoc hypothesis. Most physical observational problems the standard cosmology is dealing with can be perfectly explained by the electric plasma universe model.

  23. mas3p6 says:

    Isn't it possible that the universe is not "expanding" from dark energy, but that the outer edges of our universe are nearing or passing an event horizon of some other universe that is "contracting" into a reverse big bang? The "dark energy" would not be some unknown force "pushing" the outer galaxies, but rather would be the gravitational "pull" from the contracting universe. The contents of the other universe and its gravitational pull would be "dark" in that we couldn't see it because its contents would be contracting in faster than (similar to how a black hole prevents observations beyond the event horizon).

  24. did he say gnab gib??

  25. Georg F says:

    RIP headphone users.

  26. Flopsy says:

    With regard to supernovae, he said, "We can measure how bright they are to about 7 percent." What does that mean? An error of +/- 7 percent? That sounds awful.

  27. Gene Patrick says:

    Isaiah 40:22 "There is One who dwells above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He is stretching out the heavens like a fine gauze,And he spreads them out like a tent to dwell in."
    These words were written thousands of years ago. Science is just catching up, giving evidence of God himself.

  28. Big Bang vs Gnab Gib. Nice

  29. imma say gnab gib much more often from now on

  30. eacasanovas says:

    This incredible discovery allowed me to elaborate a hypothesis about the origin of gravity that I expose in : https://www.quora.com/What-could-be-the-origin-of-gravity/answers/96935266

  31. If gravity bends light, and objects with large amounts of mass have a gravitational pull, couldn’t it be possible that the light we look at from distant stars is deceiving and could appear brighter or fainter depending on the gravitational fields the light travels through before it reaches our telescope?