We are pleased to announce that John Mather will present the annual Bradley Lecture of the Geological Society of Washington (GSW) this year, titled ‘Opening the Infrared Treasure Chest with JWST (James Webb Space Telescope)’. Please join us for this hybrid event (Zoom and in-person) at the AGU Headquarters at 2000 Florida Av NW, DC. If you are joining us in-person, please bring your Covid vaccination card and corresponding ID. It will be checked before admission to the building.
The JWST, a great golden eye in the sky, is seeing farther back in time, farther out in space, and deeper into the dusty clouds where stars are being born today. Launched on Dec. 25, 2021, the observatory is performing beautifully, thanks to 20,000 technicians, engineers, scientists and computer scientists who built it, tested it, launched it, commissioned it, and are now using it. The JWST takes images and spectra over the wavelength range from 0.6 µm (red) to 28 µm (thermal infrared). We have stunning photos and already some startling discoveries: the first galaxies grew much more quickly than astronomers expected. Soon we hope to know if small planets around small red stars (M dwarf class) have atmospheres and perhaps water. Dr. Mather will describe what it took to build and launch the telescope, show the latest images, and talk about what comes next.
Dr. Mather is the Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The JWST will extend the discoveries of the great Hubble space telescope, reaching farther back in time, farther out into space, to show us how the expanding universe led to galaxies, stars, planets and the possibility for life on our tiny Earth. As a 28-year old postdoc Dr. Mather led the effort to propose the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite (COBE), and then served as its Project Scientist, leading the COBE team to success and to the Nobel Prize in Physics (2006). The COBE measurements started the era of precision cosmology, confirming the expanding universe theory to extraordinary accuracy. Dr. Mather speaks widely on the history of the universe and the astonishing possibilities of our shared future.