John C. Mather

John C. Mather

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For other persons with a similar name, see John Mather
John Mather
John Norman Mather is a mathematician at Princeton University known for his work on singularity theory and Hamiltonian dynamics...

.


John Cromwell Mather (b. August 7, 1946, Roanoke
Roanoke, Virginia
Roanoke is an independent city in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. state of Virginia and is the tenth-largest city in the Commonwealth. It is located in the Roanoke Valley of the Roanoke Region of Virginia. The population within the city limits was 97,032 as of 2010...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 astrophysicist
Astrophysics
Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe, including the physical properties of celestial objects, as well as their interactions and behavior...

, cosmologist
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

 and Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

 laureate for his work on the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite (COBE) with George Smoot
George Smoot
George Fitzgerald Smoot III is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, Nobel laureate, and $1 million TV quiz show prize winner . He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006 for his work on COBE with John C...

. COBE was the first experiment to measure "... the black body
Black body
A black body is an idealized physical body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation. Because of this perfect absorptivity at all wavelengths, a black body is also the best possible emitter of thermal radiation, which it radiates incandescently in a characteristic, continuous spectrum...

 form and anisotropy
Anisotropy
Anisotropy is the property of being directionally dependent, as opposed to isotropy, which implies identical properties in all directions. It can be defined as a difference, when measured along different axes, in a material's physical or mechanical properties An example of anisotropy is the light...

 of the cosmic microwave background radiation
Cosmic microwave background radiation
In cosmology, cosmic microwave background radiation is thermal radiation filling the observable universe almost uniformly....

."

This work helped cement the big-bang theory of the universe. According to the Nobel Prize committee, "the COBE-project can also be regarded as the starting point for cosmology
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

 as a precision science."

Mather is a senior astrophysicist at the U.S. space agency's (NASA)
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 Goddard Space Flight Center
Goddard Space Flight Center
The Goddard Space Flight Center is a major NASA space research laboratory established on May 1, 1959 as NASA's first space flight center. GSFC employs approximately 10,000 civil servants and contractors, and is located approximately northeast of Washington, D.C. in Greenbelt, Maryland, USA. GSFC,...

 in Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 and adjunct professor of physics at the University of Maryland, College Park
University of Maryland, College Park
The University of Maryland, College Park is a top-ranked public research university located in the city of College Park in Prince George's County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C...

. In 2007, Mather was listed among Time magazine's
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 100 Most Influential People in The World.

Mather is also the project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope
James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope , previously known as Next Generation Space Telescope , is a planned next-generation space telescope, optimized for observations in the infrared. The main technical features are a large and very cold 6.5 meter diameter mirror, an observing position far from Earth,...

, a space telescope to be launched to L2 no earlier than 2013.

In October 2010 Mather will be participating in the USA Science and Engineering Festival
USA Science and Engineering Festival
USA Science and Engineering Festival was a science festival in Washington, D.C. that founder Larry Book deemed the country’s first national science festival. The inaugural event was held from October 10, 2010 through October 24, 2010 and was planned to be a yearly event. The two week festival...

's Lunch with a Laureate program where middle and high school students will get to engage in an informal conversation with a Nobel Prize winning scientist over a brown bag lunch. Mather is also a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival
USA Science and Engineering Festival
USA Science and Engineering Festival was a science festival in Washington, D.C. that founder Larry Book deemed the country’s first national science festival. The inaugural event was held from October 10, 2010 through October 24, 2010 and was planned to be a yearly event. The two week festival...

's Advisory Board.

Education and initial research

  • 1964 Newton High School, Newton, New Jersey
  • 1968 B.Sc. (Physics), Swarthmore College
    Swarthmore College
    Swarthmore College is a private, independent, liberal arts college in the United States with an enrollment of about 1,500 students. The college is located in the borough of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia....

  • 1974 Ph.D.
    Ph.D.
    A Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy, an academic degree.Ph.D. may also refer to:* Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*Piled Higher and Deeper, a web comic strip*PhD: Phantasy Degree, a Korean comic series* PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

     (Physics), University of California, Berkeley
    University of California, Berkeley
    The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

  • 1974-76 (NRC Postdoctoral Fellow), Columbia University
    Columbia University
    Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

     Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Honors and awards

  • 1964-68 Swarthmore College
    Swarthmore College
    Swarthmore College is a private, independent, liberal arts college in the United States with an enrollment of about 1,500 students. The college is located in the borough of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia....

     Open Scholarship (honorary)
  • 1967 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition
    William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition
    The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, often abbreviated to the Putnam Competition, is an annual mathematics competition for undergraduate college students of the United States and Canada, awarding scholarships and cash prizes ranging from $250 to $2,500 for the top students and $5,000...

    , 30th place nationwide
  • 1968-70 NSF Fellowship and honorary Woodrow Wilson Fellowship
  • 1970-74 Fellow, Hertz Foundation
    Hertz Foundation
    The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation is an American non-profit organization that awards fellowships to Ph.D. students in the applied physical, biological and engineering sciences. It is considered to be the most competitive and prestigious graduate fellowship in science and engineering. The...

  • 1974-76 Postdoctoral Fellow, NRC
    United States National Research Council
    The National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academies, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.The National Academies include:* National Academy of Sciences...

  • 1990 NASA
    NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

     GSFC John C. Lindsay Memorial Award
  • 1991 Rotary National Space Achievement Award
  • 1991 National Air and Space Museum
    National Air and Space Museum
    The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1976. Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and...

     Trophy
  • 1992 Aviation Week and Space Technology Laurels for Space/Missiles
  • 1993 Discover Magazine Technology Award finalist
  • 1993 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space Science Award
    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the professional society for the field of aerospace engineering. The AIAA was founded in 1963 from the merger of two earlier societies: the American Rocket Society , founded in 1930 as the American Interplanetary Society , and the Institute...

  • 1993 American Astronomical Society
    American Astronomical Society
    The American Astronomical Society is an American society of professional astronomers and other interested individuals, headquartered in Washington, DC...

     and American Institute of Physics
    American Institute of Physics
    The American Institute of Physics promotes science, the profession of physics, publishes physics journals, and produces publications for scientific and engineering societies. The AIP is made up of various member societies...

     Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics
    Dannie Heineman
    Dannie N. Heineman was a Belgian-American engineer and businessman. He was the managing director and controling shareholder of the Belgian industrial multinational Sofina. He was a prolific sponsor of science especially through Heineman Foundation in medical sciences and awards in mathematical...

  • 1994 Fellow, Goddard Space Flight Center
    Goddard Space Flight Center
    The Goddard Space Flight Center is a major NASA space research laboratory established on May 1, 1959 as NASA's first space flight center. GSFC employs approximately 10,000 civil servants and contractors, and is located approximately northeast of Washington, D.C. in Greenbelt, Maryland, USA. GSFC,...

  • 1994 Doctor of Science
    Doctor of Science
    Doctor of Science , usually abbreviated Sc.D., D.Sc., S.D. or Dr.Sc., is an academic research degree awarded in a number of countries throughout the world. In some countries Doctor of Science is the name used for the standard doctorate in the sciences, elsewhere the Sc.D...

    , honoris causa, Swarthmore College
  • 1995 City of Philadelphia John Scott Award
  • 1996 American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

     Rumford Prize
  • 1996 Fellow, American Physical Society
    American Physical Society
    The American Physical Society is the world's second largest organization of physicists, behind the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. The Society publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including the world renowned Physical Review and Physical Review Letters, and organizes more than 20...

  • 1997 Aviation Week and Space Technology Hall of Fame
  • 1997 Member, National Academy of Sciences
    United States National Academy of Sciences
    The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

  • 1998 Marc Aaronson
    Marc Aaronson
    Marc Aaronson was an American astronomer.-Education:Aaronson was educated at the California Institute of Technology, where he received a BSc in 1972. He completed his Ph.D. in 1977 at Harvard University with a dissertation on the near-infrared aperture photometry of galaxies...

     Memorial Prize
  • 1998 Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

  • 1999 Franklin Institute
    Franklin Institute
    The Franklin Institute is a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States, dating to 1824. The Institute also houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.-History:On February 5, 1824, Samuel Vaughn Merrick and...

     Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics
  • 2005 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
    The International Society for Optical Engineering
    SPIE, an international society for optics, photonics, and imaging engineering, advances an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light....

     George W. Goddard Award
  • 2006 Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
    Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
    The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation is a U. S. philanthropic foundation established by Peter and Patricia Gruber and based in the U.S. Virgin Islands with offices in New York City.The foundation has two major activities...

     Prize in Cosmology
    Gruber Prize in Cosmology
    The Gruber Prize in Cosmology is one of five international awards made by The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, an American non-profit organization based in the U.S. Virgin Islands with offices in New York City...

  • 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics
    Nobel Prize in Physics
    The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

  • 2007 Fellow, SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
  • 2008 Robinson Prize
  • 2008 Doctor of Science
    Doctor of Science
    Doctor of Science , usually abbreviated Sc.D., D.Sc., S.D. or Dr.Sc., is an academic research degree awarded in a number of countries throughout the world. In some countries Doctor of Science is the name used for the standard doctorate in the sciences, elsewhere the Sc.D...

    , honoris causa, University of Maryland
  • 2010 India General President Gold Medal
  • 2010 Fellow, Optical Society of America
    Optical Society of America
    The Optical Society is a scientific society dedicated to advancing the study of light—optics and photonics—in theory and application, by means of publishing, organizing conferences and exhibitions, partnership with industry, and education. The organization has members in more than 100 countries...

  • 2011 Doctor of Science
    Doctor of Science
    Doctor of Science , usually abbreviated Sc.D., D.Sc., S.D. or Dr.Sc., is an academic research degree awarded in a number of countries throughout the world. In some countries Doctor of Science is the name used for the standard doctorate in the sciences, elsewhere the Sc.D...

    , honoris causa, University of Notre Dame

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