Nobel Prize Winner Believes We Could Find Alien Life Within 30 Years
A Cambridge University professor has said he believes we could detect alien life within the next 30 years, having just scooped this year's Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this week.
Didier Queloz, 52, was jointly awarded the £740,000 ($920,000) prize for his pioneering advances in physical cosmology, and the discovery of an exoplanet (a planet outside our Solar System) orbiting a solar-type star.
He shares the 2019 award with James Peebles, a Canadian scientist based at Princeton University, and Michel Mayor, who was Queloz's PhD supervisor when he discovered the first exoplanet.
According to The Telegraph, Queloz said he is 'convinced' of the existence of extraterrestrial life.
While speaking in London on Tuesday he said: "I can't believe we are the only living entity in the universe.
"There are just way to many planets, way too many stars, and the chemistry is universal.
"The chemistry that led to life has to happen elsewhere. So I am a strong believer that there must be life elsewhere.
"Life doesn't just mean a green man coming to you, life started way before animals were crawling on the surface of earth."
Queloz made the first discovery of a planet outside our solar system - an exoplanet - orbiting the star 51 Pegasi, back in 1995.
Many regard the breakthrough as a moment that changed the way we understand the universe forever.
Queloz said: "We opened a new window in astrophysics - we demonstrated that there are other planets like the ones we have orbiting our solar system.
"It was expanding our horizons, and once you start doing that there are a lot of questions you can start asking... why are we like are?"
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the 2019 Prize on Tuesday.
The 2019 #NobelPrize in Physics has been awarded with one half to James Peebles "for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology" and the other half jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz "for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star." pic.twitter.com/BwwMTwtRFv
- The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 8, 2019
The Nobel Assembly said: "The discovery by 2019 Nobel Prize laureates Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz started a revolution in astronomy and over 4,000 exoplanets have since been found in the Milky Way. Strange new worlds are still being discovered, with an incredible wealth of sizes, forms and orbits.
"This year's Laureates have transformed our ideas about the cosmos. While James Peebles' theoretical discoveries contributed to our understanding of how the universe evolved after the Big Bang, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz explored our cosmic neighbourhoods on the hunt for unknown planets. Their discoveries have forever changed our conceptions of the world."
Cambridge University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, said: "I am delighted to hear that Professor Didier Queloz has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Physics. Didier's discovery of planets beyond our solar system has ushered in a revolutionary new era for cosmology.
"This work represents an extraordinary scientific achievement but also offers humanity so much inspiration - the chance to imagine such distant and different, or perhaps similar, worlds. It gives me tremendous pleasure, on behalf of our community, to congratulate the University of Cambridge's latest Nobel Prize winner."
Featured Image Credit: PA