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Nobel prizes for chemistry and physics announced

The Nobel Prize in Physics was been awarded “for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos.” The prize has been split between two recipients. The first has gone to James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology”.

James Peebles’ has provided insights into physical cosmology since the mid-1960s. This includes improving our understanding of how the universe has been expanding over the course of 14 billion years (and not only becoming larger but also colder). Peebles has shown how ancient radiation is all around us and decoding this is the key to many of the universe’s secrets being revealed.

The second prize, from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, has been given to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, which relates to the the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.”

Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz identified the first planet outside our solar system – an exoplanet – orbiting a solar-type star. This has led to a range of new exoplanets being discovered (some 4,000 to date). This first planet was 51 Pegasi b, a gaseous ball comparable with Jupiter.

These discoveries have led scientists to revise theories relating to the physical processes connecting the origins of planets. The discovery of exoplanets may also hold the answer to whether other life is out there.

Both prizes relate to contributions towards a new understanding of the universe’s structure and history.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to John B. Goodenough, of The University of Texas at Austin, U.S.; to M. Stanley Whittingham, of Binghamton University, State University of New York, U.S.; and to Akira Yoshino of Asahi Kasei Corporation, Tokyo, Japan. Each relates to ” the development of lithium-ion batteries.”

The award relates to pioneering work undertaken during the 1970s and 19809s. Today lithium-ion batteries are used to power the portable electronics and the devices have enabled the development of long-range electric cars and the storage of renewable sources of energy.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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