- 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics
Riess shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Saul Perlmutter and Brian Schmidt "for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae".
Education and Work Experience
1996, Ph.D. in Astrophysics, Harvard University 2004, Full Astronomer, U.C. Berkeley
2006, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University
Honors and Awards
2008, Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2009, Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences 2011, Nobel Prize in Physics
Major Academic Achievements
Riess jointly led the study with Brian Schmidt in 1998 for the High-z Supernova Search Team which first reported evidence that the Universe's expansion rate is now accelerating through monitoring of Type Ia Supernovae. The team's observations were contrary to the current theory that the expansion of the universe was slowing down; instead, by monitoring the color shifts in the light from supernovas from Earth, they
discovered that these billion-year old novae were still accelerating. This result was also found nearly simultaneously by the Supernova Cosmology Project, led by Saul Perlmutter.
The corroborating evidence between the two competing studies led to the acceptance of the accelerating universe theory, and initiated new research to understand the nature of the universe, such as the existence of dark energy. The discovery of the accelerating universe was named 'Breakthrough of the Year' by Science Magazine in 1998, and Riess was jointly awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Schmidt and Perlmutter for their ground-breaking work.