High-Z Supernova Search Team

The High-Z Supernova Search Team was an international cosmology collaboration which used Type Ia supernovae to chart the expansion of the universe. The team was formed in 1994 by Brian P. Schmidt, then a post-doctoral research associate at Harvard University, and Nicholas B. Suntzeff, a staff astronomer at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. The original team first proposed for the research on September 29, 1994 in a proposal called A Pilot Project to Search for Distant Type Ia Supernova to the CTIO Inter-American Observatory. The original team as co-listed on the first observing proposal was: Nicholas Suntzeff (PI); Brian Schmidt (Co-I); (other Co-Is) R. Chris Smith, Robert Schommer, Mark M. Phillips, Mario Hamuy, Roberto Aviles, Jose Maza, Adam Riess, Robert Kirshner, Jason Spiromilio, and Bruno Leibundgut. The original project was awarded four nights of telescope time on the CTIO Victor M. Blanco Telescope on the nights of February 25, 1995, and March 6, 24, and 29, 1995. The pilot project led to the discovery of supernova SN1995Y. In 1995, the HZT elected Brian P. Schmidt of the Mount Stromlo Observatory which is part of the Australian National University to manage the team.

The team expanded to roughly 20 astronomers located in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Chile. They used the Victor M. Blanco telescope to discover Type Ia supernovae out to redshifts of z = 0.9. The discoveries were verified with spectra taken mostly from the telescopes of the Keck Observatory, and the European Southern Observatory.

In a 1998 study led by Adam Riess, the High-Z Team became the first to publish evidence that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating (Riess et al. 1998, AJ, 116, 1009, submitted March 13, 1998, accepted May 1998). The team later spawned Project ESSENCE led by Christopher Stubbs of Harvard University and the Higher-Z Team led by Adam Riess of Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute.

In 2011, Riess and Schmidt, along with Saul Perlmutter of the Supernova Cosmology Project, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this work.[1]

Major International Awards to High-Z Team and Team Members

Pages from Prop1994
The original telescope time proposal in 1994 to the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory which began the High-Z Team.



  1. ^ "Nobel physics prize honours accelerating Universe find". BBC News. 2011-10-04.

External links

Accelerating expansion of the universe

The accelerating expansion of the universe is the observation that the expansion of the universe is such that the velocity at which a distant galaxy is receding from the observer is continuously increasing with time.The accelerated expansion was discovered during 1998, by two independent projects, the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-Z Supernova Search Team, which both used distant type Ia supernovae to measure the acceleration. The idea was that as type 1a supernovae have almost the same intrinsic brightness (a standard candle), and since objects that are further away appear dimmer, we can use the observed brightness of these supernovae to measure the distance to them. The distance can then be compared to the supernovae's cosmological redshift, which measures how much the universe has expanded since the supernova occurred. The unexpected result was that objects in the universe are moving away from one another at an accelerated rate. Cosmologists at the time expected that recession velocity would always be decelerating, due to the gravitational attraction of the matter in the universe. Three members of these two groups have subsequently been awarded Nobel Prizes for their discovery. Confirmatory evidence has been found in baryon acoustic oscillations, and in analyses of the clustering of galaxies.

The accelerated expansion of the universe is thought to have begun since the universe entered its dark-energy-dominated era roughly 5 billion years ago.

Within the framework of general relativity, an accelerated expansion can be accounted for by a positive value of the cosmological constant Λ, equivalent to the presence of a positive vacuum energy, dubbed "dark energy". While there are alternative possible explanations, the description assuming dark energy (positive Λ) is used in the current standard model of cosmology, which also includes cold dark matter (CDM) and is known as the Lambda-CDM model.

Adam Riess

Adam Guy Riess (born December 16, 1969) is an American astrophysicist and Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute and is known for his research in using supernovae as cosmological probes. Riess shared both the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Saul Perlmutter and Brian P. Schmidt for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

Alex Filippenko

Alexei Vladimir "Alex" Filippenko (; born July 25, 1958) is an American astrophysicist and professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. Filippenko graduated from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California. He received a Bachelor of Arts in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1979 and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology in 1984, where he was a Hertz Foundation Fellow. He was a Miller Fellow at UC Berkeley and was subsequently appointed to a faculty position at the same institution. He was later named a Miller Research Professor for Spring 1996 and Spring 2005. His research focuses on supernovae and active galaxies at optical, ultraviolet, and near-infrared wavelengths.

Bradley Schaefer

Bradley Elliott Schaefer is a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Louisiana State University. He received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983.

Brian Schmidt

Brian Paul Schmidt (born 24 February 1967) is the Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University (ANU). He was previously a Distinguished Professor, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and astrophysicist at the University's Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He is known for his research in using supernovae as cosmological probes. He currently holds an Australia Research Council Federation Fellowship and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2012. Schmidt shared both the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, making him the only Montana-born Nobel laureate.

Bruno Leibundgut

Bruno Leibundgut (born 1 April 1960) is a Swiss astronomer born in Basel. His work focuses on supernovae and cosmology. He was a member of the High-z Supernova Search Team and participated in the establishment of the Very Large Telescope.

Christopher Stubbs

Christopher Stubbs (born March 12, 1958) is an experimental physicist currently on the faculty at Harvard University in both the Department of Physics and the Department of Astronomy. He is the current Dean of Science at Harvard University and a former Chair of Harvard's Department of Physics.

Craig Hogan

Craig Hogan is a Professor of Astronomy and Physics at the University of Chicago and he is the director of the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics.

He is known for his theory of "holographic noise", which holds that holographic principle may imply quantum fluctuations in spatial position that would lead to apparent background noise or holographic noise measurable at gravitational wave detectors, in particular GEO 600.

He attended Palos Verdes High School. Hogan earned in 1976 his B.A. in astronomy, with highest honors, from Harvard University, and his Ph.D. in astronomy from King's College at the University of Cambridge, England in 1980.

He was an Enrico Fermi Fellow at the University of Chicago from 1980 to 1981, a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Cambridge the years 1981 to 1982 and a Bantrell Prize Fellow in Theoretical Astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology from 1982–85.

He was a member of the international High-z Supernova Search Team which co-discovered dark energy in 1998.

He won the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He is the author of The Little Book of the Big Bang published in 1998 by Springer-Verlag, which was translated into six languages.

Gruber Prize in Cosmology

The Gruber Prize in Cosmology, established in 2000, is one of three international awards worth US$500,000 made by the Gruber Foundation, a non-profit organization based at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Since 2001, the Gruber Prize in Cosmology has been co-sponsored by the International Astronomical Union.

Recipients are selected by a panel from nominations that are received from around the world.

The Gruber Foundation Cosmology Prize honors a leading cosmologist, astronomer, astrophysicist or scientific philosopher for theoretical, analytical or conceptual discoveries leading to a fundamental advances in the field.


HZT may refer to:

Air Horizon, a Togolese airline

High-Z Supernova Search Team



The term "high-Z" is used to refer to:

Chemical elements with a high atomic number (Z) of protons in the nucleus

A high impedance electronic signal.

Stars with a high redshift (Z)

The High-Z Supernova Search Team

These materials are like Lead which are used for Radiation shield.

MIT Physics Department

The Physics Department at MIT has over 120 faculty members. It offers academic programs leading to the SB, SM, PhD, and ScD degrees.

As of 2018, the department counts five Nobel Prize winners among its faculty: Samuel C.C. Ting (1976), Jerome I. Friedman (1990), Wolfgang Ketterle (2001), Frank Wilczek (2004) and Rainer Weiss (2017). A few other former faculty members have also been so honored: Clifford Shull (1994), Henry Kendall (1990), Steven Weinberg (1979) and Charles H. Townes (1964). MIT Physics alumni who have received the Nobel Prize for Physics are Adam Riess (2011), George Smoot (2006), Eric A. Cornell and Carl E. Wieman (2001), Robert B. Laughlin (1998), William D. Phillips (1997), Burton Richter (1976), John Robert Schrieffer (1972), Murray Gell-Mann (1969), Richard Feynman (1965) and William Shockley (1956).

Mark M. Phillips

Mark M. Phillips (born March 31, 1951) is an American astronomer who works on the observational studies of all classes of supernovae. He has worked on SN 1986G, SN 1987A, the Calán/Tololo Supernova Survey, the High-Z Supernova Search Team, and the Phillips relationship. This relationship has allowed the use of Type Ia supernovae as standard candles, leading to the precise measurements of the Hubble constant H0 and the deceleration parameter q0, the latter implying the existence of dark energy or a cosmological constant in the Universe.

He is the past director of Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and is the Associate Director and Carnegie Staff Member at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, part of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science.

He received his undergraduate degree in Astronomy from San Diego State University in 1973, and his Ph.D., also in Astronomy & Astrophysics in 1977, from the University of California, Santa Cruz and Lick Observatory where he was a student of Professor Donald Osterbrock. After graduate school, he was a postdoc at CTIO, then at Anglo-Australian Observatory, moving back to Chile in 1982 to become a staff astronomer at CTIO.

In addition to his work on supernovae, he has also worked extensively on the spectroscopic studies of Active Galactic Nuclei.

Mount Stromlo Observatory

Mount Stromlo Observatory located just outside Canberra, Australia, is part of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University (ANU).

Nicholas B. Suntzeff

Nicholas B. Suntzeff (born November 22, 1952, San Francisco) is an American University Distinguished Professor and holds the Mitchell/Heep/Munnerlyn Chair of Observational Astronomy in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Texas A&M University where he is Director of the Astronomy Program. He is an observational astronomer specializing in cosmology, supernovae, stellar populations, and astronomical instrumentation. With Brian Schmidt he founded the High-z Supernova Search Team, which was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011 to Schmidt and Adam Riess.

Peter Garnavich

Peter M. Garnavich is the current chair of the Department of Physics at University of Notre Dame. Garnavich joined the Notre Dame in 2000 as an assistant professor, and was promoted to associate professor in 2003. In 2008 he earned the rank of full professor. His primary research area is the study of supernovae and their diversity.

Robert Kirshner

Robert P. Kirshner (born August 15, 1949) is an American astronomer, currently the Clowes Professor of Science at Harvard University. Kirshner has worked in several areas of astronomy including the physics of supernovae, supernova remnants, the Large-scale structure of the cosmos and the use of Supernovae to measure the expansion of the universe.

In 1981, along with Augustus Oemler, Jr., Paul Schechter, and Stephen Shectman, Kirshner discovered the Boötes void in a survey of galaxy redshifts. He led work on SN 1987A, the brightest supernova since Kepler's in 1604, using the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite in 1987 and the Hubble Space Telescope after its launch in 1990. In the 1990s, together with Oemler, Schechter, Shectman and others he participated in the Las Campanas Redshift Survey, a 35,000 galaxy survey using fiber optics and plug plates.

Kirshner was a member of the High-z Supernova Search Team that used observations of distant supernovae to discover the accelerating universe. This universal acceleration implies the existence of dark energy and was named the breakthrough of 1998 by Science magazine. For this work, he also shared in the 2007 Gruber Cosmology Prize. Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess, both of whom were Kirshner's Ph.D students, shared in the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for the same discovery. His account of this discovery is described in The Extravagant Universe : Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos (2002; ISBN 978-0-691-05862-7). He has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1998, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1992 and the American Philosophical Society since 2005. He was the President of the American Astronomical Society from 2004–2006. In July, 2015 he was appointed chief program officer for science at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, where he is leading the team responsible for distributing more than $100 million per year for research and technology that enables fundamental scientific discoveries.He received his A.B. magna cum laude in Astronomy from Harvard College in 1970, where he also won a Bowdoin Prize for Useful and Polite Literature. He earned his Ph.D., also in Astronomy, from Caltech in 1975. In 2004, he received the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2010, he received an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Chicago. In 2011, he won the Dannie Heineman Prize in Astrophysics from the American Institute of Physics. In 2012, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2014, he won the James Craig Watson Medal for service to astronomy from the National Academy of Sciences and shared in the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics with the High-Z Team. In 2015, he shared the Wolf Prize in Physics with B.J. Bjorken. He is a popular writer and speaker.At Harvard, he was Professor of Astronomy (1985–2016), served as the chair of the Astronomy Department (1990–1997) and as Harvard College Professor (2004–2009). He was appointed as the Clowes Professor of Science in 2001. From 1998–2004, he was the Director of the Optical and Infrared Division at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He helped Harvard join the Magellan Observatory in Chile and the Giant Magellan Telescope project.

Prior to joining Harvard in 1985, he worked at Kitt Peak National Observatory and taught at the University of Michigan for 9 years, where he rose to become Professor and Chairman of the Astronomy Department and helped to build the 2.4 meter Hiltner Telescope. At Michigan, he received an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and won the Henry Russel Award.

In 1999, Kirshner married the novelist and filmmaker Jayne Loader. From 2001–2007, they were the Masters of Quincy House, one of Harvard's 12 undergraduate houses.He is the father of the television writer/producer, Rebecca Rand Kirshner, and Matthew Kirshner of The Management Group in Los Angeles.

Supernova Cosmology Project

The Supernova Cosmology Project is one of two research teams that determined the likelihood of an accelerating universe and therefore a positive cosmological constant, using data from the redshift of Type Ia supernovae. The project is headed by Saul Perlmutter at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, with members from Australia, Chile, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

This discovery was named "Breakthrough of the Year for 1998" by Science Magazine and, along with the High-z Supernova Search Team, the project team won the 2007 Gruber Prize in Cosmology and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. In 2011, Perlmutter was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this work, alongside Adam Riess and Brian P. Schmidt from the High-z team.

The 4 Percent Universe

The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality is a nonfiction book by writer and professor Richard Panek and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on January 10, 2011.

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