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Physics @ Berkeley
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Events in Physics
Title: From The Big Bang To COBE , The Nobel Prize, And James Webb Space Telescope    (Colloquia)
Start Date: 05/07/2007
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: 1 LeConte Hall
Speaker: Dr. John C. Mather
Affiliation: Senior Astrophysicist, JWST Senior Project Scientist, 2006 Nobel Laureate, NASA
Contact Person: S. Freedman   (510) 642-3034

The COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) satellite, launched in 1989 to observe the Big Bang and hunt for diffuse radiation from the era of galaxy formation, grew out of my thesis work with Paul Richards at Berkeley.  It began the era of precision cosmology, with a 50 ppm comparison of the Cosmic Microwave Background to a blackbody, and detection of 10 ppm spatial fluctuations in the CMB.  I will describe the project, say who did what, and the key results.  I will outline my current project, the James Webb Space Telescope, and illustrate its technical challenges with lessons learned from the COBE.