" This year's winners have transformed our ideas into the cosmos, " notes the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which is awarded the NObel Prize for Physics. And this year, there are three. Canadian-American James Peebles for his work on the cosmos and its billions of galaxies and the Swiss Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, of the Geneva Observatory, for their discovery in 1995 of the first exoplanet in orbit around another star than the Sun.
Canadian James Peebles is rewarded for successfully predicting the existence of what is called the cosmic microwave background. This is the first light emitted in the universe. More than 14 billion years ago, it's the big bang, the beginning of the expansion of the universe. The temperature is infernal, the particles are all glued to each other and the photons, the grains of light are prisoners. Over time, the universe cools, it dilutes and 400 000 years after the big bang , the light is spawning a passage, it is released.
In the 60s, we said that it should remain a trace of this first light flash is the cosmic microwave background that James Peebles helped theorize. Since then, it has been observed, in particular with the Planck mission of the European Space Agency in 2013 , results which confirmed the predictions of Peebles.
Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz are rewarded for a discovery closer to us. The first planet orbiting another star than the Sun: an exoplanet. It was in 1995. Dimidium , its nickname is around 51 Pegasi, 51 light years away from us, 510 trillion kilometers. A discovery that has announced many more since 24 years later, more than 4,000 of these other worlds have been unearthed.