UC Berkeley professor wins Nobel Prize

Levy Yun/Staff

UC Berkeley Professor of physics Saul Perlmutter has won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Perlmutter, who will share the award with two other scientists, was recognized for his work studying supernovae.

Brian Schmidt, an astronomer at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University, and Adam Riess, professor of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, will jointly receive half of the prize, with Perlmutter receiving the other half.

The three scientists were awarded the prize “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae,” according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences‘ press release announcing the award. Through the study over 50 distant supernovae, the researchers discovered that light emanating from the supernovae was weaker than expected, proving the universe is accelerating at an ever-increasing rate. If this acceleration continues, the universe “will end in ice,” according to the release.

Perlmutter is also an astrophysicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and leads the international Supernova Cosmology Project. Perlmutter has been a member of the UC Berkeley Department of Physics since 2004.

Perlmutter is the 22nd UC Berkeley faculty member to receive a Nobel Prize and the ninth faculty member to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Perlmutter, who received his PhD from campus in 1986, is the 26th campus graduate to win a Nobel Prize.

Update to follow.