Dr. Randy Parker (Photo by Carrie Lilly)

Dr. John C. Mather, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and 2006 Physics Nobel Laureate will speak at GTCC on Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m.

September 18, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Annual Jo Cline Astronomy Lecture to Feature 2006 Physics Nobel Laureate Dr. John C. Mather

  • Dr. John C. Mather will present, “The History of the Universe from the Beginning to the End”
  • Free lecture will be held Sept. 22

JAMESTOWN, N.C. (Sept. 18, 2017) — Guilford Technical Community College’s Cline Observatory and the GTCC Foundation will present a free lecture, “The History of the Universe from the Beginning to the End: Where Did We Come from, Where Can We Go?” by Dr. John C. Mather, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and 2006 Physics Nobel Laureate.

The annual Jo Cline Astronomy Lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22 in the Joseph S. Koury Auditorium on GTCC’s Jamestown Campus, 601 E. Main St., Jamestown. Following the lecture, Cline Observatory will be open for viewing – weather permitting. Both events are free and open to the public.

Dr. Mather is a senior astrophysicist and senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He served as 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 farthest objects that formed after the great explosion.

Dr. Mather received the Nobel Prize in physics in 2006 for his precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation using the COBE satellite. Stephen Hawking called the findings, “the most important scientific discovery of the century, if not of all time.”

Tom English, director of Cline Observatory at GTCC was in attendance at the 1990 conference when Dr. Mather presented his findings.

“In a time of scientific uncertainty, here was a set of data that was so clear and precise, and that confirmed our best models of the behavior of the early universe,” said English. “The astronomers in attendance threw off the stuffy protocol of scientific meetings to erupt with an enthusiastic standing ovation over the displayed result. It was an incredible and amazing moment.”

In his lecture, Dr. Mather will present the history of the universe – from the Big Bang to its possible end. Using examples from NASA, discoveries from the Hubble Telescope and future telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope (launching in 2018), Dr. Mather will tell the story of how we got here, how the universe began, how it could have produced an Earth that can sustain human existence and how human beings are discovering their history.

The Cline Observatory and the GTCC Foundation offers a free public lecture each fall by a notable astronomical researcher. The first lecture was given at the observatory’s dedication by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill astronomer Bruce Carney. Since then, the observatory has continued to bring some of the top researchers in the field to GTCC to share the wonders of the cosmos. Topics have spanned the universe, from the solar system to the galaxies, to great observatories and cosmology.

For more information about the Cline Observatory, contact Tom English, director of the Cline Observatory, at (336) 334-4822, ext. 50023 or trenglish@gtcc.edu or visit http://observatory.gtcc.edu.

Guilford Technical Community College is the fourth largest of 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. GTCC serves more than 35,000 students annually from five campuses and a Small Business Center. Learn more at www.gtcc.edu.

###

About Dr. John C. Mather

Dr. John C. Mather is a senior astrophysicist and the senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. His research centers on infrared astronomy and cosmology.

As an National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, he led the proposal efforts for the Cosmic Background Explorer (1974 to 1976), and came to Goddard Space Flight Center to be the study scientist (1976 to 1988), project scientist (1988 to 1998), and also the principal investigator for the Far IR Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) on COsmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite.

Dr. Mather showed that the cosmic microwave background radiation has a blackbody spectrum within 50 parts per million. As senior project scientist (1995 to present) for the James Webb Space Telescope, he leads the science team and represents scientific interests within the project management.

He has served on advisory and working groups for the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, and the NSF (for the ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, and for the CARA, the Center for Astrophysical Research in the Antarctic). He has received many awards including the Nobel Prize in physics, 2006, for his precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation using the COBE satellite.

Dr. Mather is a graduate of Swarthmore College (1968) and the University of California at Berkeley (1974) where he received his doctorate in physics.

About the Jo Cline Astronomy Lecture Series

Guilford Technical Community College’s Cline Observatory offers a free public lecture by a notable astronomical researcher each fall. The fall lecture is dedicated to the memory of Jo Cline who passed away in 2015. Jo and her husband Don were instrumental in making the Cline Observatory and its programs possible. They could always be found in the front row of all the astronomy lectures.