From the Big Bang to the Nobel Prize and the End of the Universe
Presenter: Dr. John Mather
NASA GSFC, Nobel laureate in physics 2006, project scientist for the JWST
The history of the universe in a nutshell, from the Big Bang to now, and on to the future – Dr. Mather tells the story of how we got here, how the Universe began with a Big Bang, how it could have produced an Earth where sentient beings can live, and how those beings are discovering their history. Dr. Mather was Project Scientist for NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite, which measured the spectrum (the color) of the heat radiation from the Big Bang, discovered hot and cold spots in that radiation, and hunted for the first objects that formed after the great explosion. He explains Einstein’s biggest mistake, shows how Edwin Hubble discovered the expansion of the universe, how the COBE mission was built, and how the COBE data support the Big Bang theory. He also shows NASA’s plans for the next great telescope in space, the James Webb Space Telescope. It will look even farther back in time than the Hubble Space Telescope, and will look inside the dusty cocoons where stars and planets are being born today. Planned for launch in 2014, it may lead to another Nobel Prize for some lucky observer.