Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 October 2019

Three scientists win Nobel Prize for work on the evolution of the Universe

Canadian-American James Peebles, Swiss scientists Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz take physics prize

The Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to three scientists for their contribution to understanding of the evolution of the Universe.

Canadian-American James Peebles was awarded half the prize while Swiss nationals Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz shared the other half.

"This year's Laureates have transformed our ideas about the cosmos," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on awarding the 9 million Swedish crown (Dh3.34 million) prize.

"While James Peebles' theoretical discoveries contributed to our understanding of how the universe evolved after the Big Bang, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz explored our cosmic neighbourhoods on the hunt for unknown planets.

"Their discoveries have forever changed our conceptions of the world."

The University of Geneva quoted Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz as saying that “this discovery is the most exciting of our whole career and for it to be rewarded with a Nobel Prize is simply extraordinary.”

Dr Mayor and Dr Queloz announced their discovery of the planet, known as 51 Pegasi B, 24 years ago.

Mayor recalled that “no one knew whether exoplanets existed or not. Prestigious astronomers had been searching for them for years, in vain!”

Dr Peebles, who won the other half of the award “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology,” was asked what he would tell young scientists. He told a news conference that “you should enter it for the love of science. You should enter science because you are fascinated by it.”

This year, the Nobel week will include an award in chemistry on Wednesday, two literature laureates and the coveted Nobel Peace Prize and the economics award.

This year's double-header Literature Prizes will be awarded on Thursday and the Peace Prize will be announced on Friday.

The economics prize will be awarded on October 14.

The 2018 literature prize was suspended after a scandal rocked the Swedish Academy. The body plans to award it this year, along with announcing the 2019 laureate.

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Updated: October 8, 2019 08:10 PM

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