The Physics Nobel and Human Achievement

While we’re on the topic of human achievement, The Daily Caller was kind enough to run an article I wrote about this year’s physics Nobel laureates, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Reiss. They discovered the accelerating universe. Here’s a taste:

Perlmutter, Schmidt, and Reiss have shrunk man’s already tiny position in both space and time. But they — and we — still stand tall. If little old us can look through a metal tube with glass discs stuck in it (or radio telescopes, which rely on light we can’t even see), and infer from dim and ancient supernovae, millions of light years away, that the universe’s expansion is accelerating — well, that’s a very big achievement for such a small species.

And we’re capable of much, much more. Our universe may die in ice in the distant future. But until then, we will live well. Or rather, we will so long as human achievements like Perlmutter, Schmidt, and Reiss’ are encouraged, valued, and rewarded.

Read the whole thing here. Interested readers might also enjoy Mario Livio’s book The Accelerating Universe and Fred Adams and Greg Laughlin’s Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity.