K-State to host astrophysicist to present lecture on James Webb Space Telescope

K-State officials said Nobel laureate John C. Mather, senior astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard...
K-State officials said Nobel laureate John C. Mather, senior astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and leader of the James Webb Space Telescope science team, will present a free, non-technical lecture at K-State on Oct. 3.(Kansas State University)
Published: Sep. 30, 2023 at 4:42 PM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas State University announced on Friday, Sept. 29 that they will host Nobel laureate John C. Mather from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for the 2023 Chester Peterson Jr. Public Lecture in Physics.

Kansas State University officials said Mather will present “Opening the Infrared Treasure Chest with the James Webb Space Telescope” at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3 in 101 Cardwell Hall at K-State. The non-technical lecture is free and open to the public, and it will also be available virtually.

K-State officials said Mather is a senior astrophysicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Maryland. He has been leading the James Webb Space Telescope science team since the project began in 1995. He and George Smoot received the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite and subsequent discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation.

K-State officials indicated the James Webb Space Telescope, launched Dec. 25, 2021, produces magnificent images of galaxies, active galactic nuclei, star-forming regions and planets. It can detect objects in the solar system from Mars outward and observe a tiny bumblebee as far away as the moon in reflected sunlight and thermal emission. Scientists are using it to hunt for objects that formed after the Big Bang, including the first black holes, and to observe the growth of galaxies, the formation of stars and planetary systems, and exoplanets.

For the lecture, K-State officials noted Mather will describe how the team built the Webb telescope, what they have found and what the future might hold. Refreshments will be provided at 4 p.m. in 119 Cardwell Hall.

K-State officials indicated Mather will also give the physics department’s colloquium presentation, “New Technologies for New Astronomy,” at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2 in 102 Cardwell Hall.

K-State officials said the Peterson lecture series, presented by the physics department in the College of Arts and Sciences, is supported by an endowment from Chester Peterson Jr., aimed at publicizing and presenting an annual public lecture concerning cosmology and quantum mechanics.