15:57 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Didier Queloz, Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory and Geneva University, poses for photographers at the Science Media Centre in London, 8 October 2019. Queloz from the University of Cambridge has been jointly awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Professor James Peebles and Professor Michel Mayor for their pioneering advances in physical cosmology, and the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.

    Nobel Prize Winner Reveals When Humankind Can Spot Extraterrestrial Life

    © AP Photo / Frank Augstein
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    The Swiss astronomer Didier Queloz and his fellow astrophysicist Michel Mayor were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on 8 October “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star” alongside Canadian-American physicist James Peebles, who received the prestigious prize for "theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology."

    New equipment capable of enhancing the scrutiny of biochemical activity on exoplanets could be developed within thirty years, while in 100 years there is a good chance of spotting alien life, according to Swiss astronomer Didier Queloz, the freshly-minted Nobel Prize awardee from Cambridge University.

    Speaking in London on Tuesday, the scientist underlined that the chemistry that brought life into existence is omnipresent, hence it is hard to believe that we are all alone in the universe.

    Queloz added that the detection of exoplanets had revolutionised astronomy.

    “We opened a new window in astrophysics - we demonstrated that there are other planets like the ones we have orbiting our solar system,” he said. “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 we are?”

    The Swiss astronomer, jointly with his colleague Michael Mayor, discovered the first-ever extra-solar planet, 51 Pegasi b, unofficially dubbed Bellerophon and later formally named Dimidium, on 6 October 1995.

    Artist impression of the exoplanet 51 Pegasi b
    Artist impression of the exoplanet 51 Pegasi b

    In 2017, traces of water were detected in the atmosphere of the celestial body.

    Since the breakthrough discovery, more than 4,000 new exo-planets have been detected in the universe.

    Queloz and Mayor will share the £740,000 physics prize in December when the award ceremony will take place in Stockholm.

    Tags:
    Nobel Prize, alien life, astronomy
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