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Emily Sturgill

RELEASE : 07-056
Nobel Prize Winner to Speak on Origins, Future of Universe

HAMPTON, Va. -- "It is one of the greatest discoveries of the century. I would call it the greatest. It increases our knowledge of our place in the universe," said Per Carlson, chairman of the Nobel committee for physics, about the work of Nobel Prize winners George Smoot and John Mather on NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE). "They have not proven the Big Bang theory, but they give it very strong support."

NASA's first Nobel Prize winner, John Mather, will speak on the history and future of the universe in a colloquium lecture called "Finding our Origins with the James Webb Space Telescope." This lecture will begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the H. J. E. Reid Conference Center at NASA Langley Research Center. That evening, Mather will speak on the subject again for the general public at 7:30 p.m. at the Virginia Air & Space Center on Settlers Landing Road in Hampton.

Media who wish to interview Mather at a news briefing at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday should contact Emily Sturgill at 864-7022 or at by noon for credentials and entry to NASA Langley.

Mather's many roles include serving as the senior astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory at NASA Goddard, the chief scientist for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters and the senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope. This telescope, scheduled to launch in 2013, will be the largest telescope mirror ever placed in space. Prior to his current positions, Mather was the principal investigator for the Far IR Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) on COBE. His work on COBE, which measured the spectrum of the heat radiation from the Big Bang, won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006.

For more information on NASA Langley's Colloquium and Sigma Series lectures, visit:


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