The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to the three scientists for their contribution to the understanding of the evolution of the universe and “Earth’s place in the cosmos.”
One half of the award was given to James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology,” and the other half jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.”
The award was announced by Prof. Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences that chooses the laureates.
Mayor and Queloz announced their discovery of the planet, known as 51 Pegasi B, 24 years ago. Mayor recalled that “no one knew whether exoplanets existed or not. Prestigious astronomers had been searching for them for years, in vain!”
Canada-born James Peebles, who won the other half of the award “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology,” was asked what he would tell young scientists. He told a news conference that “you should enter it for the love of science. You should enter science because you are fascinated by it.”
They will share a 9-million kronor ($9,180,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma. The laureates will receive them at a ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10.