The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to a Canadian-American cosmologist and two Swiss scientists. Canadian-born, 84-year-old James Peebles, an emeritus professor at Princeton University, won for his theoretical discoveries in cosmology, while Swiss star-gazers Michel Mayor, 77, and Didier Queloz, 53, both of the University of Geneva, were honoured for finding an exoplanet — a planet outside our solar system — that orbits a sun-like star.
“This year's Nobel laureates in physics have painted a picture of the universe far stranger and more wonderful than we ever could have imagined,”said Ulf Danielsson of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which selected the laureates. “Our view of our place in the universe will never be the same again.”
Dr. Peebles is hailed as one of the most influential cosmologists of his time. He will collect half of the USD 918,000 cash award for his realisation of the importance of the cosmic radiation background born of the Big Bang.
The Nobel committee said Dr. Peebles’ theoretical framework about the cosmos and its billions of galaxies and galaxy clusters amounted to “the foundation of our modern understanding of the universe's history, from the Big Bang to the present day.”
Dr. Mayor, who is an astrophysicist, and Dr. Queloz, an astronomer, will share the other half of the cash award for having “started a revolution in astronomy” notably with the discovery of exoplanet 51 Pegasi B, a gaseous ball comparable with Jupiter, in 1995 — a time when, as Dr. Mayor recalled — “no one knew whether exoplanets existed or not.”