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Exoplanet researchers welcome ‘cataclysmic’ Nobel-prize announcement

9 Oct 2019, 13:26 UTC
Exoplanet researchers welcome ‘cataclysmic’ Nobel-prize announcement
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Physicists and astronomers have welcomed yesterday’s decision to award this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics to the discovery of the first exoplanet as well as research on the evolution of the universe. Despite some surprise regarding the mix of the two subjects in one prize, the award has been particularly welcomed by exoplanet researchers, who had worried that the Nobel Committee for Physics would ever deem it “fundamental enough” to be recognized.
James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz bagged the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics “for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos”. Peebles won half the prize for “theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology” while Mayor and Queloz share the other half for “the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star”.
Over the past five decades, Peebles had made pioneering contributions to cosmology including dark matter and dark energy. He made a vital headway in predicting the properties of the Cosmic Microwave Background even before it was discovered as well as improving our understanding of how elements were formed soon after the Big Bang. He also came up with “cold dark matter” as a description of a universe filled ...

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