2011 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry & (Astro)physics

Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded for discovery of ten-fold symmetry in quasi-crystal (instead of the usual three-fold symmetry).

Three Americans won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics in what may be the Nobel Prize Committee’s biggest blunder if it turns out that the accelerating expansion of the Universe turns out to be an incorrect theory.

The physics prize was awarded to three astrophysicists for making the observation that the observed rate of expansion of the universe seems to be accelerating possibly driven by the unknown ‘dark energy’ that might be vacuum energy or the supply-side theory of something from nothing. Einstein called that anti-gravity cosmological constant his ‘biggest blunder’.


If the observed rate of expansion is just an apparent observational effect caused by the uneven expansion rates of various parts of the Universe-the Universe could be thousands of times larger than the observable universe and the space time might be expanding in some areas and contracting in others-then the theory would need to be scaled back.

The prize was obviously well-given this year. What the Universe is really like-if its laws are just variables that seem constant given the time scale of observations by humans, the expansions of space-time, the nature of a continuing expansion acceleration believed to have resumed 5.5 billion years ago after a slow down from the inflation era caused by gravity-awaits discovery. The conjecture that the unknown cosmological constant ‘dark energy’ necessarily has some sort of inexhaustible energy supply and would continue to expand the universe forever-or just rip it apart into large or small fragment universes perhaps dominated locally by gravity drawing it together to create a myriad of new little universes-isn’t certain.