The Nobel prizes for peace, literature and, increasingly, economics, have unfortunately been severely degraded over the years. This diminishment is a result of awards to such luminaries as Yasser Arafat, Mairead Corrigan, Jimmy Carter, Paul Krugman, Al Gore, Dario Fo, multiple awards to the utterly useless United Nations and, most recently, Barack Obama (as well as notable snubs to the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Pope John Paul II, to name but two).
However, prizes in the hard sciences - while not without their scandals - have largely avoided the disgrace heaped on their soft science counterparts. Today, the award for physics was announced:
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says American Saul Perlmutter, U.S.-Australian citizen Brian Schmidt and U.S. scientist Adam Riess share the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics.
The trio were honored Tuesday "for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of distant supernovae."
The more expansive Nobel press release is here. Beautiful work by these (American) scientists. Fascinating research area. Dark matter. The expanding universe. The end of the world, no less. Fascinating.