Brian P. Schmidt and the High-z Supernova Search Team

Australian National University

2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

For the most unexpected discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, rather than slowing as had been long assumed.


I would like to acknowledge the High-Z Supernova Search Team, whose extraordinary dedication enabled our collective discovery of the accelerating Universe; and especially Robert Schommer, who shared in it but passed away in 2001. The whole project, over nine years, was an amazing journey of camaraderie, hard work, and discovery. Thanks to my father who instilled in me a love of science from my earliest memories, and my mother who taught me how to find excitement in all things, and good in all people. Thanks to my teachers who gave me the tools for a career in research. To my mentors: Tom Swihart and John McGraw got me started in research; Bob Kirshner more than anyone shaped me as an astronomer; and Nick Suntzeff, co-founder of the High-Z team, provided the guidance for a 27 year old to lead an international team. Finally, I acknowledge the love of my life, Jenny Gordon, who is always there to share in the ups and downs of my crazy existence, picking up the pieces when things do not quite go to plan; and our children, Adrian and Kieran, who give unconditional love to a dad who is away from home far too much.

Brian P. Schmidt and the High-z Supernova Search Team

Ceremony Acceptance Video

Breakthrough Prize Symposium Talks


  • Saurabh Jha
  • Ron L. Gilliland
  • Robert P. Kirshner
  • R. Chris Smith
  • Peter M. Garnavich
  • Pete Challis
  • Nicholas B. Suntzeff
  • Mark M. Phillips
  • John Tonry
  • Jason Spyromilio
  • David Reiss
  • Craig J. Hogan
  • Christopher Stubbs
  • Bruno Leibundgut
  • Alexei V. Filippenko
  • Alejandro Clocchiatti
  • Alan Diercks