Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The history of the Universe in a nutshell: from the Big Bang to life and the end of time
(Conferences / Seminars / Lectures)
John Mather, a 2006 Nobel Prize winner, will tell 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. more information...
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 will explain Einstein's biggest mistake, 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 will also show 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 peer inside the dusty cocoons where stars and planets are being born today. It is capable of examining Earth-like planets around other stars using the transit technique, and future missions may find signs of life.