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ANU scientist shares Nobel physics prize

An Australian National University scientist is one of three people to jointly receive the 2011 Nobel physics prize.

US-born Brian P Schmidt is head of the High-z Supernova Search Team at ANU.

Together with Saul Perlmutter and Adam G Riess, both of the US, he won the prize for a study of exploding stars that discovered the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded Perlmutter half of the 10 million kronor (US$1.5m) prize, while Schmidt and Riess will share the other half.

Their discoveries “have helped to unveil a universe that to a large extent is unknown to science,” said an academy news release.

In a speech to the Nobel committee from Australia during the ceremony, Schmidt said: “It feels like when my children were born.

“I feel weak at the knees, very excited and somewhat amazed by the situation. It’s been a pretty exciting last half hour.”

In 2006, the same trio shared the Shaw prize in astronomy for their findings.