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November 14, 2012

Nobel laureate and NASA scientist to discuss next space telescope

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Nobel laureate and NASA scientist John Mather will discuss the James Webb Space Telescope, which is the planned successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, during a Purdue University lecture on Thursday (Nov. 15).

Mather, who is senior project scientist for the telescope, will present "James Webb Space Telescope: Science Opportunities and Mission Progress" at 4 p.m. in the Physics Building, Room 203.

Mather will describe how the telescope could lead to possible scientific discoveries, ranging from the first objects to form after the big bang to the assembly of galaxies, the formation of stars and the potential detection of planetary systems capable of supporting life.

He also will outline the remaining work for the project, including testing the telescope at the gigantic vacuum chamber at Johnson Space Center and developing and testing the deployable sunshield.

Mather won the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics with George Smoot for the discovery of the black body form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation, which helped confirm the Big Bang theory. He is a senior astrophysicist in the observational cosmology laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.  More information about Mather is available at http://science.gsfc.nasa.gov/sed/index.cfm?fuseAction=people.jumpBio&&iPhonebookId=11051

Refreshments will be served at 3:30 p.m. in the Physics Building, Room 242. The lecture is sponsored by the Department of Physics.

Writer: Elizabeth K. Gardner, 765-494-2081, ekgardner@purdue.edu

Source: Wei Cui, 765-494-5395, cui@purdue.edu