SFI Colloquium: The History of the Universe …

John Mather

SFI News:

The Santa Fe Institute will host a colloquium titled “The History of the Universe: How We Got Here and Where We Are Going” by John Mather of NASA at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28 in the Noyce Conference Room at SFI, 1399 Hyde Park Road in Santa Fe. The SFI host is David Pines.

Abstract. The history of the universe in a nutshell, from the Big Bang to now, and on to the future – John Mather 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. 

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 also will 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.