Physics @ Berkeley
Events in Physics
Title: REGENTS' LECTURE: From Berkeley To NASA, Stockholm, And The Beginning Of The Universe    (Colloquia)
Start Date: 02/24/2014
Time: 5:00 pm
Location: Chevron Auditorium in International House
Speaker: John Mather
Affiliation: Senior Astrophysicist, and Senior Project Scientist for JWST
Contact Person: Sarah Wittmer   (510) 642-3034

I did my PhD thesis at Berkeley, trying to measure the primeval heat radiation from the Big Bang, but the apparatus didn’t work the first time. So I went from Berkeley to NASA in New York and Maryland, the COBE satellite was chosen for construction, and it worked despite enormous challenges. We confirmed the Big Bang theory (what a pathetically small name for an infinitely expanding universe), discovered its hot and cold spots (explaining how we can exist), and started a new industry. Now, I’m working on pushing telescopes beyond where they’ve ever gone, with the great James Webb Space Telescope, planned successor to the magnificent Hubble Space Telescope. I will tell the history of the universe and how we found out about it, I will show the new telescope and what we hope to discover with it, and I will imagine our future, including how “we” might go to the stars.