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3 Scientists Win Nobel Prize In Physics For Discoveries About Universe

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Three scientists have won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics for ground-breaking discoveries about the evolution of the universe and Earth's place in the cosmos.

Announcing the award Tuesday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said one half of the prize money will be given to James Peebles of Princeton University, U.S., "for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology", and the other half jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of University of Geneva, Switzerland.

The total prize amount is 9 million Swedish krona, or $0.908 million.

Peebles, from Canada, is Professor of Science at Princeton University.

Mayor, who is from Lausanne, Switzerland, is a Professor at University of Geneva.

Queloz, a Swiss astronomer, is professor at University of Geneva and University of Cambridge.

This year's Prize rewards new understanding of the universe's structure and history, and the first discovery of a planet orbiting a solar-type star outside the solar system.

James Peebles' insights into physical cosmology have enriched the field of research and laid a foundation for the transformation of cosmology over the last fifty years, from speculation to science. His theoretical framework, developed since the mid-1960s, is the basis of the world's contemporary ideas about the universe.

Using his theoretical tools and calculations, Peebles was able to interpret traces from the infancy of the universe and discover new physical processes.

In October 1995, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz announced the first discovery of a planet outside the solar system. Named "51 Pegasi b," the exoplanet was orbiting a solar-type star in the galaxy, the Milky Way. At an Observatory in southern France, using custom-made instruments, they were able to see the exoplanet.

Queloz was a Ph.D. student at the University of Geneva when he and Mayor, his doctoral adviser, made the discovery.

This discovery started a revolution in astronomy and more than 4,000 exoplanets have since been found in the Milky Way. "They challenge our preconceived ideas about planetary systems and are forcing scientists to revise their theories of the physical processes behind the origins of planets," the Royal Swedish Academy said in a press release.

"While James Peebles' theoretical discoveries contributed to our understanding of how the universe evolved after the Big Bang, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz explored our cosmic neighborhoods on the hunt for unknown planets. Their discoveries have forever changed our conceptions of the world," the Academy added.

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