2011 Nobel Prize in Physics

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded to Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae” with one half to Perlmutter and the other half jointly to Schmidt and Riess.

Perlmutter is at The Supernova Cosmology Project, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Schmidt is at The High-z Supernova Search Team, Australian National University, Weston Creek, Australia and Riess at The High-z Supernova Search Team, Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Basically, this is for the supernovae evidence for “dark energy” (the 2008 sciencebase feature on dark energy).

In 1998, cosmology was shaken at its foundations as two research teams presented their findings. Headed by Perlmutter, one of the teams had set to work in 1988. Schmidt headed another team, launched at the end of 1994, where Riess was to play a crucial role. The research teams raced to map the Universe by locating the most distant supernovae. More sophisticated telescopes on the ground and in space, as well as more powerful computers and new digital imaging sensors (CCD, Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009), opened the possibility in the 1990s to add more pieces to the cosmological puzzle.

The teams used a particular kind of supernova, called type Ia supernova. It is an explosion of an old compact star that is as heavy as the Sun but as small as the Earth. A single such supernova can emit as much light as a whole galaxy. All in all, the two research teams found over 50 distant supernovae whose light was weaker than expected – this was a sign that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating. The potential pitfalls had been numerous, and the scientists found reassurance in the fact that both groups had reached the same astonishing conclusion.

For almost a century, the Universe has been known to be expanding as a consequence of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. However, the discovery that this expansion is accelerating is astounding. If the expansion will continue to speed up the Universe will end in ice.

The acceleration is thought to be driven by dark energy, but what that dark energy is remains an enigma – perhaps the greatest in physics today. What is known is that dark energy constitutes about three quarters of the Universe. Therefore the findings of the 2011 Nobel Laureates in Physics have helped to unveil a Universe that to a large extent is unknown to science. And everything is possible again.

Full announcement – The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics.

UPDATE: 11:03 BST: Schmidt compares winning the Nobel to the birth of his children, in interview with Nobel committee broadcast live. Says he feels weak at the knees. Even though he was one of the favourites to win the 2011 Prize, it was unexpected. Looking forward to teaching his cosmology class on Wednesday on this very subject. Grew up in Alaska so looking forward to the medals in December in the Swedish winter.

Thought Perlmutter’s team were getting an answer that the universe is slowing down not speeding up, was with trepidation that revealed to the world that the expansion of the universe is speeding up. A little scared by their findings. Always looks to Einstein for explanation, the energy of space itself, the simplest reason for the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. So despite, recent allegedly superluminal neutrinos, Einstein’s 1915 theory does predict the acceleration the supernovae data provide evidence for. Confirm Einstein’s cosmological constant published 1917.

2 thoughts on “2011 Nobel Prize in Physics”

  1. It is surprised to hear that the three U.S. physicists had won the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering through the study of supernovae that the universe is accelerating expansion.
    The Hubble’s redshift and the Doppler Effect are the facts. It doesn’t mean the universe is expansion or universe is accelerating expansion.
    The expansion of the universe is based on the true of the Big Bang theory. If the Big Bang theory is not true. Even though the Hubble’s redshift, and the Doppler Effect is the facts. The expansion or accelerating expansion of the universe is not supported.
    The Big Bang theory and “dark energy” are not just a crazy idea, it is nonsense. Is anyone believe the “dark energy” able to create the real energy to push the supernovae accelerating expansion? If you do believe it. You may believe “dark human” can turn spirit to a real person.
    In Scientific community , the Big Bang and ”dark energy” issue had been argue for so many year, And now act rashly to award the Nobel Prize in physics for the universe is accelerating expansion .I believe that someday will be proved the 2011 of the Nobel Prize for physics turn out to be a joke.
    The expansion of Universe should not true. If it is true, the Big Bang theory and “dark energy” will be true.
    Now raise a big question. If he Big Bang theory and “dark energy” are not true. Also the Hubble redshift, and the Doppler Effect is the facts, How could be proved the universe is not expansion or not accelerating expansion?
    The space of the universe has only three kind of possibility. One is Euclidean space, one is elliptical space and the other is hyperbolic space. These three kinds of space can only be hypnosis to be one of the three only, And, it cannot be identify by proved.
    1. If the universe is a Euclidean space, due to the Hubble redshift, and the facts of the Doppler Effect, There must be the expansion of the universe and the Big Bang also true. This is contradiction to the Big Bang is not true. So, the space of the universe may not be a Euclidean space
    2. The space of the universe will never be an Elliptical space. If the space of the Universe is an Elliptical space. When we see anything from the east, can be seen from the west too. Obviously, it is not so
    3. Remaining space is The Hyperbolic space.

    Let analyze, if supernovae happen in Hyperbolic space.

    Hubble’s laws are derived from Euclidean rules and Euclidean formulas. However, assume the Universe is in Hyperbolic space. Very logically, we must derive its rules and formulas from Hyperbolic rules and non-Euclidean formulas.

    The rules and formulas of Hyperbolic space are quite different from Euclidean space. Hence, the results derived from utilizing these two systems must be different. These differences may be the keys to unveil the mystery of the Universe.
    “Now we try to prove, the universe is not expansion or not accelerating expansion. Even though Hubble’s redshift and the Doppler effect are the facts”


    When photon travel a distance of r. The equation of a light spherical front in Euclidean space is

    x2 + y2 + z2 = r2 ————– (1)

    From Hyperbolic geometry, the equation of the light spherical front is

    tanh2 x/k + tanh2 y/k + tanh2 z/k = tanh2 r/k —— (2)

    Where k is the constant of the space curvature. (cosmological constant)
    (From page 298 of non-Euclidean Geometry by Allen Liou, 1964.)

    Comparing equations (1) and (2), we can see very obviously that the area of the light spherical fronts is very much different. Even though they have the same radius. Therefore, the Doppler Effect should not be the same between Euclidean space and Hyperbolic space.

    The area of the Light Spherical Front in Euclidean space is 4πr2.
    What is the area of the Light Spherical Front in Hyperbolic space?

    Let us determine the circumference of a circle in Hyperbolic space first:

    Let PQ be the chord of a circle of radius r, which subtends an angleθ, M be the midpoint of the chord, and O be the center of the circle.
    See pic 1.

    From the formula of the right-angle in Hyperbolic trigonometry, we have (page 143 of non-Euclidean Geometry by Allen Liou, 1964.)

    sinh PQ/2k = sinh r/k sin∠POQ/2

    If angle θ 0
    We have ds/2k = sinh r/k dθ/2
    or ds = k sinh r/k dθ

    Integrating both sides, we have

    Circumference = 2πk sinh r/k

    Then, let ds are the length of the arc of the spherical circle, and r be the radius.
    By same formula, we have, see pic 2.

    ds = k sinh r/k dθ

    The area of the circle strip is
    d (area of circle strip) = 2πk sinh AM/k ds

    sinh AM/k = sinh r/k sinθ

    d(area of circle strip)=2πk[sinh r/k sinθ][k sinh r/k dθ]
    = 2πk 2 sinh2 r/k dθ

    Integrating both sides, we have
    area of sphere = 4πk 2 sinh2 r/k


    When a photon travels a distance r, the area of the Light Spherical Front in Euclidean space is 4πr2.

    area of sphere = 4πr 2

    But the area of the Light Spherical Front in Hperbolic space is

    area of sphere = 4πk 2 sinh2 r/k

    Compare the two Spherical Areas in the two different spaces with the same r. We easily to see that, if we are in Hyperbolic universe, Light Spherical Front stretch from 4πr 2 to 4πk 2 sinh2 r/k. We temporary called this stretch by “Liou’s stretch effect”.

    The Spherical Front of photon may only travel a distance r in Hyperbolic space. But in Euclidean space, it appears to travel a distance of k sinh r/k.

    From the difference of r and k sinh r/k in Euclidean space, it looks like the object moves from point r to point k sinh r/k, but the object actually stays still in Hyperbolic universe.

    When we use Redshift of Doppler Effect in Euclidean space to calculate velocity of galaxy from point r to point k sinh r/k. Actually, there is no movement from point r to point k sinh r/k. It only cause by the stretch of curvature of Hyperbolic space (“Liou’s stretch effect”).

    I will use the velocity to calculate the space constant (cosmological constant). Use redshift of frequency the result is the same.


    Let s = k sinh r/k – r

    Where s is the distant of galaxy moving from position r to the position k sinh r/k.
    Taking the derivative of both sides, we have

    ds/dt = cosh r/k dr/dt – dr/dt

    where ds/dt =v (the velocity of galaxies at the remote distance of r), and dr/dt is the speed of light c.

    v = cosh r/k c – c

    v = c[cosh r/k – 1] = 2c sinh2 r/2k ———- (3)

    There are several versions of the Hubble’s constant. We will select the one most popular one. In which, the velocity of galaxies at a distance of six billion light-years move away at a velocity of roughly 90,000 kilometers/sec.
    Hence v=90,000 kilometers/sec and r=6 bly.

    Hence we have

    v = 90,000 kilometers/sec and r = 6 bly.

    90,000 = 2c sinh2(6bly/2k )

    ∴ 0.3c = 2c sinh2(3bly/k )

    ∴ k = 3bly/ sinh-1√0.12

    ∴ k = 7.931965828 bly

    Where bly is billion light-years.


    1. Hubble’s constant was not constant.

    From equation (3), v = 2c sinh2 r/2k , the velocity of galaxies and the remote distance of r were not exactly linear proportions in Euclidean universe. The velocity is more likely in slightly acceleration observed in Euclidean universe.

    Here, the cosmological constant, k = 7.931965828 bly was based on the Hubble’s Law at 6 bly. If we based on a difference distance, like one on a distance of 1 or 2 bly, the k value should be slightly different. If we use different versions of Hubble’s Law, the cosmological constant k will be even more different. We really need an accurate data to determine the constant k

    Assuming k = 7.931965828 bly is correct; the Hubble’s diagram in Euclidean space should look like the following diagram.

    From this chart, we should call Hubble’s accelerator instead of Hubble’s constant.

    2. Is Universe’s redshift cause by DOPPLER EFFECT or “LIOU’S STRETCH EFFECT”?

    From Hubble’s Law, the speed by which a galaxy moves away is proportional to the distance to the galaxy. A galaxy with distance of 6 bly has a velocity of 90,000 km/s. For a galaxy 30 bly away, its speed will be 450,000 km/s. This is beyond the speed of light a lot. It is contradict to the fact of the speed of light is constant.
    In recent year, astronomer’s observed that Hubble’s constant is not constant. The galaxies actually moving away accelerated, like supernovae.

    From this two facts, the Universe’s redshift is more likely to be caused by the “LIOU’S STRETCH EFFECT”.
    . And Doppler Effect caused by the STRETCH of the Hyperbolic space (“LIOU’S STRETCH EFFECT”) not by the speed of velocity in Euclidean space.

    So, the universe is not expansion nor accelerating expansion. Even though Hubble’s redshift and the Doppler effect are the facts.

    In other words,The universe is still in Hyperbolic space

  2. I was lucky enough to be at the 1998 meeting of the American Astronomical Society where Saul Perlmutter announced this result. To say the room was stunned would be an understatement, hardly anyone had expected this. Some 13 years on, we still don’t really have a clue as to what Dark Energy is. We don’t know if it has been constant since the beginning of the Universe, or whether it has only recently “kicked in”. The discovery of the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe is a wonderful example of the way science works. Two teams worked very hard to make very difficult observations. Their finding contradicted the accepted knowledge of the time, but you cannot bury the truth in science. Now it is up to the theoreticians to explain what is going on.

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