Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 celebrates Earth's cosmic context

Nobel Peace Prize

A Canadian-American scientist and two Swiss scientists won the physics prize for their work in understanding how the universe has evolved from the Big Bang and the blockbuster discovery of a planet outside our solar system. "His theoretical framework, developed over two decades, is the foundation of our modern understanding of the universe's history, from the Big Bang to the present day", the academy said.

Peebles, of Princeton University in the United States, was awarded half of the 9-million-Swedish-crown ($910,000) prize while Mayor and Queloz, from Switzerland's University of Geneva and Britain's Cambridge University, shared the rest.

Swiss superstar-gazers Michel Mayor, 77, and Didier Queloz, 53, both of the University of Geneva, were honoured for discovering an exoplanet - a planet out of doors our solar system - that orbits a sun-like superstar.

More than 4,000 exoplanets have since been found in the Milky Way, and scientists think one out of every four or five stars have planets.

"My advice to young people entering science: you should do it for the love of science. That's what I did".

He was born in St. Boniface, Man., and did his undergraduate studies at the University of Manitoba before moving to Princeton for graduate studies. "That's what I did", he said.

"We were as surprised as everybody to find a planet because the planet that we found was absolutely weird and it's not at all the way you would have expected a planet to be", Queloz told AFP Tuesday.

Queloz also works at the University of Cambridge in England. Frey describes it as "a direct imprint of the baby universe". "The Big Bang Theory" had its finale in May.

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Peebles is the Albert Einstein Professor of Science, Emeritus, and professor of physics, emeritus.

Speaking in London on Tuesday, the scientist underlined that the chemistry that brought life into existence is omnipresent, hence it is hard to believe that we are all alone in the universe. "In his writing, he has such a global comprehension of physics and certainly of cosmology that he can make sweeping, broad, deep and correct statements".

The Nobel Committee said: "Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized our lives and are used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles".

Peebles told a news conference he was uneasy about starting work in the field in 1964 at the invitation of professor Robert Dicke, who was his mentor.

"The staff here, the students, the faculty, will be gathering soon for a toast to me".

Notoriously modest and focused on his work, Peebles noted that he's been retired for 20 years but continues to research and teach at a "relaxed rate" because he enjoys it.

"For example, when you're exercising, you're using up oxygen at a much more rapid pace. and this is a switch that helps the cell figure out how much oxygen it's getting and how it should behave".

The prizes come with a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma that are conferred on December 10 - the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896 - in Stockholm and in Oslo, Norway.

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