Nobel Prize winner’s lecture will explain evolution of the universe


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (October 10, 2012) — Nobel Prize winner and acclaimed astrophysicist, John C. Mather, will detail the history of the universe, from beginning to end, at Tuskegee University. Mather is the scientist whose work in measuring cosmic background radiation helped to prove the controversial Big Bang Theory. He won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics and was listed among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World in 2007.

Mather is a senior astrophysicist and senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope (the successor of the Hubble Telescope) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He will give a lecture in the ballroom of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Tuskegee University Oct. 24 at 4 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public and will take place in the hotel ballroom.

Mather will discuss the origin of the universe by the Big Bang and its evolution over time, including the production of Earth and its suitability supporting human existence. He will also talk about the Hubble Space Telescope and its impact on increasing knowledge about the universe and revelations about once-hidden portions of deep space. 

Mather obtained his Ph.D. in physics from University of California at Berkeley and his B.S. in physics from Swarthmore College. 

While doing post-doctorate work at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he led the team that proposed the Cosmic Background Explorer or COBE satellite. The team measured cosmic microwave background radiation, and showed that the spectrum of radiation left over from the Big Bang matched the theoretical prediction. He and his team showed that the cosmic microwave background radiation has a blackbody spectrum within 50 parts per million, confirming the Big Bang theory to extraordinary accuracy. 

The COBE team also discovered the cosmic anisotropy (hot and cold spots in the background radiation), now believed to be the primordial seeds that led to the structure of the universe today. It was these findings that led to Mather receiving the Nobel Prize in 2006.

© 2012 Tuskegee University

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