Three Americans won the $1.5 million Nobel Prize of physics for research showing that the expansion of the universe is speeding up.The prize will be split by Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Riess.
Three American scientists shared the 2011 Nobel Prize for physics for the stunning discovery that the expansion of the universe is speeding up, meaning it may one day turn to ice, the prize committee said on Tuesday.
Scientists have known since the 1920s that the universe is expanding, as a result of the Big Bang some 14 billion years ago, but the discovery that this process is accelerating -- and not slowing as many thought -- rocked the research community.
"If the expansion will continue to speed up, the universe will end in ice," the Nobel committee said in a statement.
Half of the 10 million Swedish crown ($1.5 million) prize money went to American Saul Perlmutter and the rest to two members of a second team which conducted similar work -- U.S.-born Brian Schmidt, who is based in Australia, and American Adam Riess.
"It seemed too crazy to be right and I think we were a little scared," he added.