Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A little more on the LBNL/UCB Nobel Win

'Human beings have had the audacity to conceive a theory of creation and now, we are able to test that theory.'

-George F. Smoot
Smoot, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and an astrophysicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), shares the prize with John C. Mather of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. This is UC Berkeley's twentieth Nobel Prize since Ernest O. Lawrence won in 1939, and its eighth physics Nobel.

Smoot, a resident of Berkeley, was surprised by an early morning call from Sweden to his unlisted cell phone, which the Nobel committee obtained by waking his neighbor.

"There were no rumors. I figured they only give the prize when you're close to death, and I still have enough life left in me," said Smoot, 61.

Smoot and Mather together led the building and launch of the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite in 1989 to look for telltale signs of the primordial explosion. They announced in 1992 the discovery of residual heat from the explosion, in addition to variations in temperature across the sky that indicated the beginnings of structure in the early universe.

Maybe Saul will get the next one. ;)

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