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Nobel Prize in Physics Saul Perlmutter to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the UB

Saul Perlmutter.

Saul Perlmutter.

13/05/2019

Institucional

The astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter, who led the discovery of the accelerated expansion of the Universe and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011, will be awarded the honorary doctorate by the University of Barcelona on Monday May 20, at 12 noon, in the Paranimph of the Historical Building. The sponsors will be professors Ramon Canal, from the Department of Quantum Physics and Astrophysics, and Pilar Ruiz Lapuente, from the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the UB (ICCUB, UB-IEEC) and member of the Supernova Cosmology Project, one of the teams to conduct the discovery. Attendance is free, please confirm your attendance via this link.

The discovery in 1998 on the accelerated expansion of the Universe was not only unexpected but it also led to the postulation of the previously unknown dark energy which builds three quarters of the "stuff of the Universe. During the ceremony Perlmutter will give the conference “What we learn when we learn that the Universe is accelerating”, a journey through the progress carried out since the discovery regarding the understanding of dark energy and the accelerated expansion of the Universe, which reveals how science works. The ceremony will be live streamed on the UB Facebook page and Youtube channel.

Saul Perlmutter is a professor at the University of California – Berkeley, where he is the director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) and co-directs the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics (BCCP).

In the nineties he was the director of the Supernova Cosmology Project (SCP), an international collaboration that enabled the discovery of a great amount of distant supernovas, from the period of the early Universe. The project also enabled obtaining the first measures of the cosmological constant (Λ) and mass density (Ω) of the Universe, which appear in the equations of Einstein’s general relativity theory –one of the most cited ones in the field of physics- and meant the discovery of the accelerated growth of the Universe, which was thought to be curbing.

Perlmutter also launched a project to study dark energy analyzing the light of faraway supernovas. He led an approach to build and launch a telescope through a satellite. Finally, the NASA approved the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), the last version of this project which also includes the study of exoplanets and other cosmological questions, and which is now under a preliminary design phase. 

Apart from the Nobel Prize in Physics, which he shares with Adam Riess and Brian Schmidt, among the many honors and awards Perlmutter has received are the Gruber Prize in Cosmology (2007), shared with the rest of the SCP and High-Z Supernova Search Team (H-ZST), and the Breakthrough Prize in the category of fundamental physics (2015), also shared with the SCP and H-ZST.

The University of Barcelona is one of the three European institutions, together with the University of Cambridge and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), appearing in the article on the discovery of the accelerated expansion of the Universe, published in the journal Astrophysical Journal. One of the co-authors of this article is the UB expert Pilar Ruiz Lapuente, who joined the Supernova Cosmology Project to lead the observations carried out at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (La Palma, Canarias). The UB supports several meetings of this international collaboration. 

 

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