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2007 Cosmology Prize

Saul Perlmutter & the Supernova Cosmology Project

Saul Perlmutter is Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He received his BA in physics from Harvard University in 1981 and his PhD in physics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1986.

He has been heavily involved in cosmological studies for over 20 years, including dark matter, gravitational lensing and using supernovae as probes of the universe. He instituted and led the Supernova Cosmology Project which, along with Brian Schmidt’s High-Z Supernova Search Team, discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe.

The team’s co-discovery jointly won for it (along with Brian Schmidt’s team) Science magazine’s Breakthrough of the Year for 1998. He has received many awards and prizes during his career, including California Scientist of the Year in 2003, and the Shaw Prize in 2006 (jointly with Adam Riess and Brian Schmidt). He’s also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Perlmutter remains active in research that uses supernovae, and is the developer and principle investigator for the Supernova Acceleration Probe (SNAP) space mission that is intended to help narrow down the nature of the dark energy. He’s hopeful that this mission, or one like it, will soon be approved.