nobel prize physics


Finding Darkness In The Light: How Vera Rubin Changed The Universe

“Instead, the speeds rose rapidly, but then leveled off. As you moved farther away from a galaxy’s core, the stars’ rotation speeds didn’t drop, but rather leveled off to a constant value. The rotation curves, unexpectedly, were flat. Rubin’s work began in the Andromeda galaxy, our closest large, galactic neighbor, but quickly was extended to dozens of galaxies, which all showed the same effects. Today, that number is in the thousands, and our multiwavelength, advanced surveys have shown that it can’t be missing atoms, ions, plasmas, gas, dust, planets or asteroids that account for the mass. Either something is screwy with the laws of gravity on galactic (and larger) scales, or there’s some type of unseen mass in the Universe.”

When you look at a galaxy in the night sky, it’s easy to imagine that it’s just a system of masses like our Solar System, except on a larger scale. Instead of a single, central mass, you have many stars responsible for the galaxy’s gravitational pull. The stars revolving around the galactic center feel the tug from all the other stars and orbit accordingly, with the inner stars orbiting quickly and the outermost ones – the ones most distant from the gravitational sources – orbiting more slowly, just like the planets. At least, that’s what you’d expect. But when the techniques and the technologies for measuring this finally came to fruition, the result was a colossal surprise: the stars in a galaxy didn’t determine the galaxy’s mass or rotation properties. In fact, if you went out and measured the gas, dust, plasma, planets and everything else we can observe in the galaxy, they don’t explain it either. Something unseen and invisible was influencing the way galaxies behave.

On Sunday night, Vera Rubin passed away at age 88. Here was her most titanic, Universe-changing contribution to the enterprise of science.

Marie Curie (1867-1934) was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in any category. She achieved this first in 1903, when she won the Prize in Physics, and then again in 1911 for Chemistry. She therefore became the first and only woman to win the Nobel twice, and the only person to receive it for two different sciences.

The research she conducted on radioactivity was pioneering in the field, and included the actual coining of the term, and the discovery of two new elements, polonium and radium. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris from 1900 onward. Initially, the committee only wanted to award the 1903 Prize to her husband, Pierre, but they received the award jointly after his complaint in regards to the situation.

Sweet Sixteen and Mad Meta

Spoiler alert!

MJ just comes out swinging.

Riley: “Something new and exciting, please.”
Maya: “We’ve done everything!”
Riley: *cutesy smile* “Wouldn’t it be a sad situation if that were true?”

GMW isn’t done, folks. We all know it. Disney’s pretending they don’t know it…heck, even the characters know it!


THEY SING THE THEME. Just try and tell me those girls don’t know they’re on a TV show.


Cory: [Birth.] What’s next?
Smackle: “I win the Nobel Prize for physics.”
Cory: “Smackle, we just got born.”
Smackle: “Okay. I’ll wait.”
[Seconds later]
Cory: So then, we celebrate our birth every year. What’s next?”
Smackle: “I win the Nobel Prize for physics.”
Cory: “Not. Yet.”
Smackle: “Get to it!”
Cory: “Okay, so we get born. We learn to walk and talk. We meet our friends. Then what?”
Smackle: “You know.”
[STILL in the same lesson]
Cory: You’re going to be thinking about where to go to college…
Smackle: Stockholm University, so I could be nearby to pick up my Nobel Prize.

Why Smackle’s emphasis on the Nobel Prize? What was that whole exchange supposed to teach us, since we already know that Smackle wants to be the world’s best scientist? 

Let’s take out some keywords and add in the context, yes? Cory’s trying to teach the kids that landmarks are muy importante. And Topanga teaches that those landmarks can change what your idea of your best life is.

Meanwhile, in the GMW fandom, everyone’s frothing at the mouth and fighting about ships. (Or was, shall I say? So legitimately proud of y’all for pulling your heads out of your butts to save the show.) So lets change it a bit.

MJ: [Friends.] What’s next?

Fandom: “My ship gets married and lives happily ever after.”

MJ: “Guys, they just met.”

Fandom: “Okay. I’ll wait.”

[Seconds later]

MJ: So then, we celebrate our friendship every year. What’s next?”

Fandom: “My ship gets married and lives happily ever after.”

MJ: “Not. Yet.”

Fandom: “Get to it!”


MJ: “Okay, so we make friends. Maybe more than one of them like each other. We decide to take time to sort out our feelings and take it slow. Then what?”

Fandom: “

You know


[STILL in the same lesson]

MJ: You’re going to be thinking about the overarching lesson of this show…Fandom: Who falls in love with who, so then my ship can finally get married and live happily ever after.

I’m just saying.


Maya: “Well, see, I just turned fifteen…and you’re eight.”

I think it was @theowldetective who coined the “oversized kindergartener” term in relation to Riley. Tell me it isn’t canon. Tell me her costuming hasn’t mattered.


I find it hilarious that Lucas looking so old can’t really even be considered meta anymore. It’s just a part of the show now. 


Smackle: “What’d I miss?” 

Zay: “Well, Riley and Maya are more important than Riley and Lucas.”

Smackle: “I don’t think anyone missed that.”

How strapped to your face are your shipper goggles? Did you miss that?


Lucas: “So when did things start going bad?”
Zay: “Oh, the triangle took all the life outta you.”
Lucas: “Yeah.”

Again. I think he’s a little afraid of people thinking everything is what it seems right now. No need to look further, right?


Topanga: “Looking back at the landmarks of my life, here’s what I know. No. No do-over.”

After everything’s said and done, each of these moments that people have been complaining about (the triangle, Smackle’s hitting on Lucas, the characters’ flaws) will be building into something great. No do-overs. Life doesn’t happen one perfect moment at a time. It’s a culmination of all the imperfections.

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
—  Marie Curie (November 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934) was a Polish physicist and chemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes—in physics and chemistry. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

nothing adorns a woman like        her lover
                       her son           her husband
her position                      her former husband                            her past
her title                                 a president                                      her future
her profession                           of a country
her family                            or enterprise
her hair                                       her purse                                  her make up
                         no                      no                   her garden
              her trained, attended to, her dried, her cared-for body
        nothing adorns a woman like the Nobel prize in literature
                       better yet                                                                    a scare
             diamonds        a bevy of female friends
            a mansion        a green lawn
                                    a poodle eating noodles
                her daughter                
            her pierced nose
         her purple hair
     no pink
 her long eyelashes                      nothing
            adorns a

Women of Science: Lise Meitner

Not only is inequality damaging for individuals, it also vandalises society as a whole.

This begs the question: what has society missed out on because of inequality?

This is a small testament to those women who somehow managed to throw off the shackles of oppression and change the scientific world.

Women of Science:

Lise Meitner

In a very extreme case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Lise Meitner was a female Austrian Jew who excelled in physics; meanwhile fleeing Nazi prosecution.

At the age of 14 she completed her schooling feeling unsatisfied and wanted to continue onto higher education. This was the only schooling females were allowed to do at the time, but she was motivated by discoveries from scientists such as Henri Becquerel and wanted to pursue a future of radioactivity research.

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On This Day in History: July 19th

1921 - Rosalyn Sussman Yalow born.

Rosalyn Yalow was one of the nation’s premier medical physicists, the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Medicine (1977) and the first woman to win the Lasker Prize (1976). Yalow’s Lasker Prize and Nobel Prize were awarded for one of the century’s most significant scientific discoveries. Working in radioisotopes, she and her colleague, Dr. Solomon Berson, refined a new approach – called radioimmunoassay (RIA) – using radioisotopes to analyze physiological systems. The technique used radioisotopes to “tag” certain hormones or proteins, making detailed measurements possible of previously undetected concentrations of hormones. RIA opened many doors in the study of disease and chemical responses. Rosalyn Yalow, wife and mother of two children, believed women could balance career and family life. On receiving her Nobel Prize, Yalow spoke about women in science careers: “We must believe in ourselves or no one else will believe in us…we must feel a personal responsibility to ease the path for those who come after us. The world cannot afford the loss of the talents of half its people if we are to solve the many problems that beset us.”


Shocker: Nobel Prize In Physics Goes To Topology In Materials, Not Gravitational Waves!

“It was thought for a long time that superconductivity and superfluidity, two low-temperature properties of certain types of matter with either zero resistance or zero viscosity, respectively, required a fully three-dimensional material to work through. But in the 1970s, Michael Kosterlitz and David Thouless discovered that not only could they occur in thin, 2D layers, but they discovered the phase transition mechanism by which superconductivity would disappear at high enough temperatures. With fewer degrees of freedom, and fewer dimensions for particles, forces and interactions to travel through, quantum mechanical systems actually become easier to study. Equations that are difficult to solve in three dimensions often become much easier in only two; other equations that are impossible to solve in three dimensions actually have known solutions in two.”

If you want to understand the Universe, there are two big areas you need to know: Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which governs the gravitational force and the curvature of spacetime, and quantum physics, which governs all the particles, the states of matter and every non-gravitational interaction ever. While many were expecting the Nobel Prize to go to the LIGO collaboration for the groundbreaking first direct detection of gravitational waves, there are a slew of quantum discoveries that are literally changing our world today. In the 1970s and 1980s, a new field of physics emerged: applying topology to low-temperature, extreme systems. By looking at thin, 2D layers and the topological defects that occurred inside them, new properties of matter appeared. Working out the physics of how these systems worked and the equations that governed them has led to a whole suite of new research, and is leading towards breakthroughs in electronics and quantum computing.

Go get the full story on this year’s Nobel Prize in physics: “for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.”


The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate – or is it?

Five years ago, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three astronomers for their discovery, in the late 1990s, that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace.

Their conclusions were based on analysis of Type Ia supernovae - the spectacular thermonuclear explosion of dying stars - picked up by the Hubble space telescope and large ground-based telescopes. It led to the widespread acceptance of the idea that the universe is dominated by a mysterious substance named ‘dark energy’ that drives this accelerating expansion.

Now, a team of scientists led by Professor Subir Sarkar of Oxford University’s Department of Physics has cast doubt on this standard cosmological concept. Making use of a vastly increased data set - a catalogue of 740 Type Ia supernovae, more than ten times the original sample size - the researchers have found that the evidence for acceleration may be flimsier than previously thought, with the data being consistent with a constant rate of expansion.

The study is published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.
Professor Sarkar, who also holds a position at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, said: 'The discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe won the Nobel Prize, the Gruber Cosmology Prize, and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. It led to the widespread acceptance of the idea that the universe is dominated by “dark energy” that behaves like a cosmological constant - this is now the “standard model” of cosmology.

'However, there now exists a much bigger database of supernovae on which to perform rigorous and detailed statistical analyses. We analysed the latest catalogue of 740 Type Ia supernovae - over ten times bigger than the original samples on which the discovery claim was based - and found that the evidence for accelerated expansion is, at most, what physicists call “3 sigma”. This is far short of the “5 sigma” standard required to claim a discovery of fundamental significance.

'An analogous example in this context would be the recent suggestion for a new particle weighing 750 GeV based on data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. It initially had even higher significance - 3.9 and 3.4 sigma in December last year - and stimulated over 500 theoretical papers. However, it was announced in August that new data shows that the significance has dropped to less than 1 sigma. It was just a statistical fluctuation, and there is no such particle.’

There is other data available that appears to support the idea of an accelerating universe, such as information on the cosmic microwave background - the faint afterglow of the Big Bang - from the Planck satellite. However, Professor Sarkar said: 'All of these tests are indirect, carried out in the framework of an assumed model, and the cosmic microwave background is not directly affected by dark energy. Actually, there is indeed a subtle effect, the late-integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect, but this has not been convincingly detected.

'So it is quite possible that we are being misled and that the apparent manifestation of dark energy is a consequence of analysing the data in an oversimplified theoretical model - one that was in fact constructed in the 1930s, long before there was any real data. A more sophisticated theoretical framework accounting for the observation that the universe is not exactly homogeneous and that its matter content may not behave as an ideal gas - two key assumptions of standard cosmology - may well be able to account for all observations without requiring dark energy. Indeed, vacuum energy is something of which we have absolutely no understanding in fundamental theory.’

Professor Sarkar added: 'Naturally, a lot of work will be necessary to convince the physics community of this, but our work serves to demonstrate that a key pillar of the standard cosmological model is rather shaky. Hopefully this will motivate better analyses of cosmological data, as well as inspiring theorists to investigate more nuanced cosmological models.

Significant progress will be made when the European Extremely Large Telescope makes observations with an ultrasensitive “laser comb” to directly measure over a ten to 15-year period whether the expansion rate is indeed accelerating.’


The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016 – David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane, J. Michael Kosterlitz – “for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter”

They revealed the secrets of exotic matter

This year’s Laureates opened the door on an unknown world where matter can assume strange states. They have used advanced mathematical methods to study unusual phases, or states, of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids or thin magnetic films. Thanks to their pioneering work, the hunt is now on for new and exotic phases of matter. Many people are hopeful of future applications in both materials science and electronics.

The three Laureates’ use of topological concepts in physics was decisive for their discoveries. Topology is a branch of mathematics that describes properties that only change step-wise. Using topology as a tool, they were able to astound the experts. In the early 1970s, Michael Kosterlitz and David Thouless overturned the then current theory that superconductivity or suprafluidity could not occur in thin layers. They demonstrated that superconductivity could occur at low temperatures and also explained the mechanism, phase transition, that makes superconductivity disappear at higher temperatures.

In the 1980s, Thouless was able to explain a previous experiment with very thin electrically conducting layers in which conductance was precisely measured as integer steps. He showed that these integers were topological in their nature. At around the same time, Duncan Haldane discovered how topological concepts can be used to understand the properties of chains of small magnets found in some materials.

We now know of many topological phases, not only in thin layers and threads, but also in ordinary three-dimensional materials. Over the last decade, this area has boosted frontline research in condensed matter physics, not least because of the hope that topological materials could be used in new generations of electronics and superconductors, or in future quantum computers. Current research is revealing the secrets of matter in the exotic worlds discovered by this year’s Nobel Laureates.

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) was a Chinese-American scientist who made important contributions to the field of nuclear physics. She is best known for conducting the Wu experiment, and for separating uranium metal into isotopes. These achievements led to her two male colleagues winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1957.

After finishing her initial studies in China, she moved to the US and studied at Berkeley, where she completed her PhD. She was then a research professor at Columbia University. She was the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Princeton, and the first female president of the American Physical Society.


This Nobel Prize season, dive into the world of the super small for physics and chemistry. It’s where the nanocars roam and phase transitions get really weird.

Happy birthday Dr. Abdus Salam! 
“Abdus Salam (29 January 1926 – 21 November 1996) was a Pakistani theoretical physicist who, when he shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to electroweak unification, became the first Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize. 
Salam’s major and notable achievements include the Pati–Salam model, magnetic photon, vector meson, Grand Unified Theory, work on supersymmetry and, most importantly, electroweak theory, for which he was awarded the most prestigious award in physics – the Nobel Prize”.