STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Three scientists shared the 2011 Nobel Prize for physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of exploding stars, the prize committee said on Tuesday.
One half of the 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.45 million) went to U.S. citizen Saul Perlmutter and the other half to U.S.-Australian citizen Brian Schmidt and U.S. scientist Adam Riess.
"They have studied several dozen exploding stars, called supernovae, and discovered that the universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate," prize awarder, the Nobel Committee for Physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said.
"The discovery came as a complete surprise, even to the laureates themselves," the committee added in a statement. ($1 = 6.879 Swedish Crowns)
(Reporting by Patrick Lannin and Mia Shanley)