Science of far-away planets and infant universe wins Nobel prize

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Canadian-born scientist James Peebles is one of three researchers who have won this year's NobelPrize in Physics for their contributions to the understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth's place within it.

Peebles, hailed as one of the most influential cosmologists of his time, who realised the importance of the cosmic radiation background born of the Big Bang, will collect one half of the 9-million kronor (US$918,000) cash award.

The 2018 Nobel Literature prize was suspended after a sex abuse scandal rocked the Swedish Academy, the body that awards the literature prizes, so two prizes are being awarded this year.

James Peebles won the award "for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology".

Mayor and Queloz said it was "simply extraordinary" to be awarded a Nobel for what they described as "the most exciting discovery of our entire career".

A screen displays the portraits of the laureates of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics, with left to right, James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, during a news conference at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday Oct. 8, 2019. Even today, this ancient radiation is all around us and, coded into it, numerous universe's secrets are hiding.

"Our whole universe was in a hot, dense state, then almost 14 billion years ago expansion started", academy member Ulf Danielsson said, quoting "The Big Bang" theme at the presentation in Stockholm.

Peebles immediately went to work trying to understand the physics underlying different aspects of the Big Bang, showing how temperature and matter density influenced the production of helium in the Universe's earliest moments. "Do you think there is life on other planets?" They noticed a subtle change in the color of the parent star, as it wobbled due to the gravitational pull of the orbiting planet.

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"We made the discoveries when we were young, but we get recognized when we're old", the 63-year-old director of the Vascular Research Program at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering added.

The rest of the week will see Nobel prizes awarded in the fields of physics, chemistry, and literature, as well as the Peace prize for bettering foreign relations.

Kaelin meanwhile told reporters it was a moment he had dreamt of for a long time.

The discoveries by the trio illuminated what the Nobel Committee called "one of life's most essential adaptive processes", answering profound questions about how the body works and providing potential new therapeutic avenues to treat cancer and other diseases.

It was October 6, 1995 when Queloz and Mayor first announced the discovery of a planet orbiting a star other than our own, revolving around a star 42 light years away from Earth.

"All three of them won the Lasker Award.so it wasn't too surprising that they won the Nobel Prize today", says Schumacker.

"You should enter it for the love of the science", he said. The Peace Prize, to be awarded this Friday in Oslo, is also likely to spark public debate (hopefully, civil), as it has been speculated that Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg could receive it for her campaign against climate change (which has been quite polarizing so far).

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