Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt wins new honours

11 November 2014

ANU astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Professor Brian Schmidt and his team of astronomers have won one of the most valuable prizes in science.

The team has won the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, sharing the $3 million in prize money, for discovering that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating.

“I am thrilled that our team could be recognised in this way. The accelerating Universe was a huge thing to be part of, and it is great for the team to receive this amazing public recognition,” Professor Schmidt said.

In 2011, Professor Schmidt and Adam Riess from Johns Hopkins University led the High-Z Supernova Search team and shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with Saul Perlmutter and a team from the University of California, Berkley, for the discovery.

The High-Z Supernova Search team is an international team of astronomers who study supernovae to trace the expansion of the universe.

The prize, to be shared among 50 scientists in two research teams, was announced at a prize ceremony in California.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young AO congratulated Professor Schmidt on the latest award.

“The Breakthrough Prize is well-earned recognition for Professor Schmidt and his dedicated team, who have helped the world better understand the nature of the expanding Universe,” Professor Young said.

The annual Breakthrough Prizes in fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics, are sponsored by Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife, Anne Wojcicki, a founder of the genetics company 23andMe; Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma and his wife, Cathy Zhang; Russian entrepreneur and venture capitalist Yuri Milner and his wife, Julia; and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

The awards celebrate scientists and generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career.