GENEVA (AP) — Two Swiss scientists are celebrating their Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering a planet outside our solar system orbiting a solar-type star.
The University of Geneva has quoted Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz as saying that “this discovery is the most exciting of our whole career and for it to be rewarded with a Nobel Prize is simply extraordinary.”
Mayor and Queloz announced their discovery of the planet, known as 51 Pegasi B, 24 years ago. Mayor recalled that “no one knew whether exoplanets existed or not. Prestigious astronomers had been searching for them for years, in vain!”
Canada-born James Peebles, who won the other half of the award “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology,” was asked what he would tell young scientists. He told a news conference that “you should enter it for the love of science. You should enter science because you are fascinated by it.”
The prize comes with a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award to be shared between the winners, a gold medal and a diploma. The laureates receive them at an elegant ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel in 1896, together with five other Nobel winners. The sixth one, the peace prize, is handed out in Oslo, Norway on the same day.
This was the 113th Nobel Prize in Physics awarded since 1901, of which 47 awards have been given to a single laureate. Only three women have been awarded it so far: Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963 and Donna Strickland in 2018, according to the Nobel website.