Institute Astronomers Share Breakthrough Prize for Discovery of Accelerating Universe
Space Telescope Science Institute scientists Susana Deustua, Nino Panagia, Andy Fruchter, Adam Riess (shown left to right), and Ron Gilliland (not shown) are members of the two teams of astronomers sharing the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. Each team received $1.5 million.
The astronomers initially began their Hubble observations of far-flung supernovae to measure the predicted deceleration of the universe due to the pull of gravity. To their amazement, they found the opposite: the universe was expanding at an ever-faster rate. Astrophysicists have hypothesized that an unknown phenomenon, called dark energy, is causing the acceleration. The discovery, first announced in 1998, is one of the biggest surprises in science.