In 1998 two teams traced back the expansion of the Universe over billions of years and discovered that it was accelerating, a startling discovery that suggests that more than 70% of the cosmos is contained in a previously unknown form of matter, called Dark Energy.
In 2011 Professor Brian Schmidt, leader of the High-Redshift Supernova Search Team, was named joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics. Brian and his team’s work on the expansion of the Universe fundamentally changed astrophysics – it opened up a whole new area of science and introduced the world to the concept of Dark Energy.
In this one off special event for Perth, Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt described this discovery and explained how astronomers have used observations to trace our Universe's history back more than 13 billion years, leading them to ponder the ultimate fate of the cosmos.
A bit of background on Brian:
Born in the US, Professor Schmidt came to the Mt Stromlo Observatory at ANU in 1995 after completing his PhD at Harvard. Brian is continuing his work using exploding stars to study the Universe, and is leading Mt Stromlo’s effort to build the SkyMapper telescope, a new facility in new South Wales that will conduct the most detailed study ever of the southern sky.
In addition to the 2011 Nobel Prize, Professor Schmidt has been awarded the Australian Government’s inaugural Malcolm McIntosh award for achievement in the Physical Sciences in 2000, The Australian Academy of Sciences Pawsey Medal in 2001, the Astronomical Society of India’s Vainu Bappu Medal in 2002, and an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship in 2005. In 2006 Schmidt was jointly awarded the US$1M Shaw Prize for Astronomy, and shared the US$0.5M 2007 Gruber Prize for Cosmology with his High-Z SN Search Team colleagues.