On October 4th the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics exceptionally in Astronomy and gave it jointly to three scientists, Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess, and Brian Schmidt for their work on Cosmology. By analysing light coming from very distant galaxies the three had observed that not only is the Universe expanding as shown by Red Shift but that the speed of expansion is accelerating challenging our known laws of gravity.
"Saul Perlmutter (born 1959) is an American astrophysicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Perlmutter shared both the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Adam Riess and Brian P. Schmidt for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating."
"Adam Guy Riess (born December 1969, Washington, D.C.) is an American astrophysicist at Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute and is widely known for his research in using supernovae as Cosmological Probes. Riess shared both the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Saul Perlmutter and Brian P. Schmidt for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating."
"Brian P. Schmidt (born February 24, 1967) is a Distinguished Professor, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and astrophysicist at the Australian National University Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and is widely known for his research in using supernovae as Cosmological Probes. He currently holds an Australia Research Council Federation Fellowship. Schmidt shared both the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating."
The following are my personal thoughts about this years
Nobel laureates great scientific achievement in my very imprecise
language and limited understanding of the Mathematics and Physics
involved. There is good text for general public about this year's award
in Physics by Jennifer Ouellette in Scientific America.
American astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889 – 1953) used the Hooker at Mt. Wilson and changed our concept of Cosmos when he recognized that those nebulous clouds seen in telescopes and tought to be just spots of dust in the known universe (consisting only of our Milky Way) were, in fact, other galaxies like ours. Hubble classified them by their shape and used the tools available at his time to calculate their distances from using Cepheids as milestones. Hubble discovered the crucially important law of nature named after him in Red Shift, a pattern in light from stars and galaxies Doppler's phenomenon similar to the familiar to us from hearing the pattern of the siren of a passing fire engines. (The pitch is higher when it approaches, gets lower when it gets further away.)
Big Bang and Big Collapse
From Edwin Hubble's revolutionary discoveries it logically followed that if the Cosmos is expanding, perhaps there was a time when everything was together, and so the Big Bang theory was born.
From the Big Bang theory our common sense and known laws of Physics, especially gravity, would indicate, that at one point the process is reversed and the expanding balloon of Cosmos begins to collapse again until there is only that one dot left of it.
Maybe then another Big Bang in an endless series of events in an eternal
cosmos chewing gum? or that's it and then there is nothing?
Science has evolved rapidly with better tools for observation.
What Galilei Galileo called "horns of Saturn" after seeing the planet through his home-made telescope were seen in better telescopes as "rings of Saturn".
The light from the distant galaxies seen for the first time by Hubble through the Hooker has now been studied in greater detail with modern instruments.
The result is that cosmos is indeed expanding (Saturn has its "horns") but the speed is accelerating against Newton's laws of gravity (the "horns" are actually rings).
Nobody knows at the moment why this is happening and so it is called the dark energy - not dark in the sense of sinister but dark, because scientists are in the dark about what it might be.
Death of the Universe
If it goes on like this and the speed of galaxies just keeps increasing there is perhaps no Big Collapse after all.
Instead, eventually everything freezes in zero Kelvin as there is no energy or dark energy left.
The other thing is, what if they reach the limits of Spacetime continuum, get to the speed of light? Go beyond the horizon of the known Cosmos?
The research goes on with new and better methods of observation and new ideas that the results from these discoveries raise in that amazing little thing - human brain.
The God of Israel who has created the Cosmos is our guarantee that even if the the entire Universe freezes over, we still exist in Him and experience His love or wrath for what we have done good or bad in our life upon this tiny planet Earth.
Note that two American scientists, Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess, both belong to the chosen people of God. Their first names are from the Bible: Saul, first king of Israel and Adam from the Hebrew word adamah, soil, and then man.
Luckily for the self-esteem of us non-Jews, Brian Schmidt is a regular goy from Australia!
He is Lord!
At the end of the holy Bible entirely written by the Jews there is a mighty sentence by a son of a Jewish mother:
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."