Nobel laureate John Mather to present Brinson Lecture on Nov. 1

Cosmologist John C. Mather will deliver the 2011-2012 University of Chicago Brinson Lecture on “The History of The Universe in a Nutshell: From the Big Bang to Life and the End of Time.”

The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1 in the MacLean Ballroom of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 112 S. Michigan Ave. Admission is free, and the event is open to the public. Mather’s lecture is co-sponsored by the UChicago and SAIC with support from the Brinson Foundation.

Mather shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite. COBE’s measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation marked the first detection of hot and cold spots in the heat radiation from the big bang. Astrophysicists regard these measurements as the beginning of the era of precision cosmology. Mather currently is a senior astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and the senior project scientist for the James Webb Telescope, the proposed successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.

During his lecture, Mather will explain Albert Einstein’s biggest mistake, how Edwin Hubble discovered the expansion of the universe, how the COBE mission was built and how its data support the big bang theory.