The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo and Arthur McDonald of the California Institute of Technology "for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass."
"[Neutrinos] are, along with electrons and quarks, are fundamental particles that we do not know how to subdivide further," McDonald explained to NobelPrize.org. "Therefore, they make up a very fundamental part of the laws of physics at the most microscopic level. Therefore, their properties are extremely important to understand our world in great detail."
Of course, learning more about this basic building block has some exciting implications for science as we know it.
"I think the significance is that this is clearly the physics that is beyond the Standard Model of particle physics," Kajita told NobelPrize.org.
While it doesn't explain all of the missing mass that should be in the universe, it could potentially explain some.
McDonald received the life-changing call from the Nobel Committee at 5 a.m. local time and tells NobelPrize.org that hearing the news was "surprising, but very gratifying as well." He reports in the same interview that his first course of action was to give his wife a hug.
Kajita, on the other hand, was checking his email when his phone rang. "It is kind of unbelievable!" he told NobelPrize.org.
Congratulations to these two amazing scientists!
The Nobel Prizes for Chemistry, Literature and Peace will be announced later this week.