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December 16, 2014 03:00 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2014-34

Institute Astronomers Share Prize for Discovery of Accelerating Universe

December 16, 2014: It's the stuff of a science fiction movie: a mysterious form of energy that is pulling the universe apart at an ever-faster rate. Astronomers around the world are befuddled and are marshaling the world's most powerful telescopes in their search for clues to understanding what this "dark force" could be. Who knows how the story will end?

This script was not written by Hollywood writers but by two teams of astronomers, including scientists at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. And now Hollywood has taken notice. The two groups received the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, Saul Perlmutter of the University of California, Berkeley, and Brian P. Schmidt of the Australian National University accepted the award on behalf of their teams at an Academy Awards-style ceremony in California. Riess (at far right in the photo) and Schmidt led the High-Z Supernova Team, Perlmutter the Supernova Cosmology Project. Other Institute scientists sharing the prize are Susana Deustua, Nino Panagia, and Andy Fruchter of the Supernova Cosmology team (seen left to right in the photo) and Ron Gilliland of the High-Z team.

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Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI)

Release Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI