Schmidt grew up in Montana and Alaska. He studied physics and astronomy at the University of Arizona and received his Ph.D. 1993 at Harvard University with a thesis on type II supernovae, supervised by Robert Kirshner. Since 1995 he has worked in Australia at Mount Stromlo Observatory, and since 1999 at the Australian National University.
Schmidt leads the High -z Supernova Search Team, one of the two teams that made the measurement of the brightness further supernovae of Type Ia discovered in the late 1990s that the universe's expansion is accelerating. This discovery was the catalyst of the present-day search for the nature of dark energy. In addition, he is interested in supernovae and gamma-ray bursts is scientific director of the Skymapper project to build a survey telescope for the southern sky.
In 2011 he was awarded jointly to Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess the Nobel Prize for physics. Their discovery of the accelerated expansion of the universe was appreciated by observing distant supernovae.
- 2006: Shaw Prize
- 2007: Gruber Prize for Cosmology
- 2011: Nobel Prize in Physics
- 2012: Dirac Medal ( UNSW )
- 2013: Companion of the Order of Australia