Nobel Prize in Physics 2019

  • Author: ChemViews Magazine
  • Published Date: 08 October 2019
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
thumbnail image: Nobel Prize in Physics 2019

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 has been awarded to with one half to

  • James Peebles, Albert Einstein Professor Emeritus of Science at Princeton University, NJ, USA,

"for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology"

and the other half jointly to

  • Michel Mayor, Professor Emeritus at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and
  • Didier Queloz, University of Cambridge, UK,

"for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star."

The theoretical framework James Peebles developed over two decades, is the foundation of our modern understanding of the universe’s history, from the Big Bang to the present day. He was able to predict the shape of the universe and the matter and energy it contains. The universe is geometrically flat. His findings suggest that 31 % of the universe is composed of matter and this means 69 % of it must be dark energy.

Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz have explored our home galaxy, the Milky Way. In 1995, they made the first discovery of a planet outside our solar system, an exoplanet, orbiting a solar-type star, 51 Pegasi. Today, more than 4,000 exoplanets are known. They are surprising in their richness of forms, most of these planetary systems do not look like our own, with the Sun and its planets. These discoveries have led new theories about the physical processes responsible for the birth of planets.

James Peebles, born in 1935 in St Boniface near Winnipeg, Canada, studied physics at the University of Manitoba, Canada.
He completed his Ph.D. in 1962 at Princeton University under the supervision of Robert Dicke. Peebles spent his entire career at Princeton University. Today, he is Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University.

Among other honors, James Peebles has received the Harvey Prize in 2001, the Shaw Prize in 2004, and the Dirac Medal in 2013. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Michel Mayor, born in 1942 in Lausanne, Switzerland, studied physics at the University of Lausanne and received his Ph.D. in astronomy in 1971 from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He was a researcher at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, UK, and spent some time at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Chile, and at the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii, USA. From 1971 to 1984, Mayor was a Research Associate at the Observatory of Geneva, Switzerland. He became an Associate Professor at the University of Geneva in 1984 and was promoted to Full Professor in 1988. He remained in Geneva until his retirement in 2007 and has been Professor Emeritus there since.

Among other honors, Michel Mayor received the 2011 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award of Basic Sciences and the Wolf Prize in Physics in 2017, both together with Didier Queloz, and the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2015.

Didier Queloz, born in 1966 in Switzerland, studied physics at the University of Geneva and received his Ph.D. there in 1995  under the supervision of Michel Mayor. Today, Queloz is Professor at the University of Geneva and at the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, UK.

Among other honors, Queloz received the 2011 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award of Basic Sciences and the Wolf Prize in Physics in 2017, both together with Michel Mayor.


Selected Publications by James Peebles

Selected Publications by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz

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Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies)published by Wiley-VCH