Schools Brief: Astrophysicist’s talk set for today

Schools Briefs

Nobel Prize recipient John C. Mather, senior project scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope, is scheduled to deliver an illustrated, nontechnical presentation, “Cosmic Instability: How a Smooth Early Universe Grew into Everyone You Know,” 7 p.m. today on YouTube.

The free online discussion, co-sponsored by Foothill College, is part of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series.

During the webinar, Mather will discuss how gravity made stars, stars made heavy elements, gravity and chemistry made planets, geology and biology made people and people made telescopes.

The James Webb Space Telescope, planned for launch in October, will extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope with a much bigger mirror, cooled to low temperatures so it can observe infrared radiation. Mather will show the telescope, describe its capabilities and discuss what it might find.

Mather is a senior astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. His research centers on infrared astronomy, cosmology and the development of new instruments for exploring the universe. He has received numerous awards, including the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006 and three honorary doctorates.

To view Mather’s online presentation, visit

For more information on the lecture series, visit

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