Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative Welcomes Nobel Laureate

Nov. 4, 2013
John MatherJohn Mather courtesy photo.

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Media contact: Lori Fogleman, (254) 710-6275

WACO, Texas (Nov. 4, 2013) - The Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC) will welcome John Mather, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics, at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Baylor Sciences Building, D109.

The first speaker in the BRIC Foundations speaker series, Mather will present his lecture titled "A History of the Universe from Beginning to End." He will discuss the Big Bang theory of how humans came to be, how the universe began with a big bang and how the bang could have produced an earth that sustains human existence.

Mather won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work with George Smoot as the project scientist for NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite, which measured the color of the heat radiation from the Big Bang explosion and supports the Big Bang theory. He will also discuss how the COBE mission was built.

According to the Nobel Prize committee, "the COBE project could be regarded as the starting point for cosmology as a precision science."

Mather's presentation will be significant to the BRIC, said Truell Hyde, Ph.D., a professor of physics, director of the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research (CASPER) and the Vice Provost of Research at Baylor.

"Dr. Mather will be speaking on a research area that is covered in the BRIC," he said. "We have faculty that do the same kind of research he won a Nobel Prize for, so that's fascinating for them. Plus, anytime you get the chance to have a Nobel Laureate come and present, you take it."

Mather also will discuss NASA's plans for the next space telescope - the James Webb Space Telescope. The device will look inside the cocoons where stars and planets are born and search for Earth-like planets around other stars, which could produce signs of life in future missions.

Although the topics seem complex, Hyde said the lecture is not just for physics students.

"I would say the lecture is for anyone," he said. "Almost everyone I know has some interest in how everything began, and most people are interested in the stars and space to an extent."

For those interested in the intricacies of his work, Mather will present a technical lecture at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, in the BRIC, Room 3160.

The technical presentation will focus on the progress and details of the James Webb Space Telescope. Reserved shuttle service to the BRIC will be available from the Baylor Sciences Building at 1:45, 2 and 2:15 p.m. Nov. 8.

The Baylor Sciences Building is located at 101 Bagby Ave. For more information, call Sherri Honza at (254) 710-3763.

by Kristen Bennett, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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