Riess' seminal dark energy discovery has already won him accolades and some of the biggest prizes in science. In 2006 he won the $1 million, Hong Kong-based Shaw Prize in Astronomy, sometimes called the "Nobel of the East."
In 2007, he shared the Peter Gruber Foundation's Cosmology Prize — a gold medal and $500,000 — for his seminal dark energy findings.
And in 2008, Riess received a "genius" grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He was honored for his work "designing experiments and devices to advance our understanding of the geometry of the universe and to trace the story of both its beginning and its end."
He said Tuesday he'd heard "rumors," or at least speculation, that he was on the Nobel committee's short list this year. And Hopkins' public relations apparatus was on alert in case that call came in from Sweden.
Curiously, Riess said, "I'd had a dream just a few hours earlier. It was a nice dream, that I'd won the Nobel Prize."
Since the call, he said, "it's been nuts," with nonstop phone calls from friends, colleagues and reporters. "I can't wait until the chemistry prize is announced tomorrow."
Sun reporters writers Mary Gail Hare and Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.
Adam G. Riess
Home: Lives in Stoneleigh with his wife, Nancy, and two children.
Childhood: Grew up in Warren, N.J. Father was an engineer-turned-entrepreneur; mother was a psychologist. Worked in his father's New York-style deli, taught an adult class in computer programming at age 13.
Education: Bachelor of science in physics, 1992, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ph.D in astrophysics from Harvard in 1996. Was a post-doctoral student at University of California Berkeley when he made his 1998 dark energy discovery.
Work: Joined the Johns Hopkins University in 1999, where he is now the Krieger-Eisenhower professor of astronomy, and a scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute.
Interests: Sports. Minored in history at MIT and wrote his final research paper on baseball's 1919 "Black Sox Scandal."