Special Scientific Colloquium
November 21, 2006
1:30 p.m.  Building 8 Auditorium


Goddard Space Flight Center
John Mather

From the 2006 Nobel Prize announcement:

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2006 jointly to John C. Mather and George F. Smoot
"for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation".

This year the Physics Prize is awarded for work that looks back into the infancy of the Universe and attempts to gain some understanding of the origin of galaxies and stars. It is based on measurements made with the help of the COBE satellite launched by NASA in 1989.

The COBE results provided increased support for the Big Bang scenario for the origin of the Universe, as this is the only scenario that predicts the kind of cosmic microwave background radiation measured by COBE. These measurements also marked the inception of cosmology as a precise science.

The success of COBE was the outcome of prodigious team work involving more than 1,000 researchers, engineers and other participants. John Mather coordinated the entire process and also had primary responsibility for the experiment that revealed the blackbody form of the microwave background radiation measured by COBE.