Wednesday, October 04, 2006

9 Minute Nobel Prize

A standing ovation and a Nobel prize not bad for nine minutes of work.

Big Bang pair claims Nobel physics prize

The Nobel prize in physics has been awarded to US academics John Mather and George Smoot for their discoveries supporting the Big Bang theory. Their work was based on measurements made with the help of the cosmic background explorer (Cobe) satellite launched by Nasa in November 1989 using its own rocket. The first results were received after nine minutes of observations: Cobe had registered a perfect blackbody spectrum. When the curve was later shown at an astronomy conference, the results received a standing ovation.

Blog: Nobel Prize in Physics Links

The COBE findings were described in a cover story of the July 1992 issue of Scientific American, shortly after the announced results. This issue is not availably digitally, but you may find a hard copy in the library.

Here are some that you can get online:

The First Few Microseconds, May 2006

Four Keys to Cosmology, a special report in the February 2004 issue consisting of George Musser's introduction and four articles:
1. The Cosmic Symphony
2. Reading the Blueprints of Creation
3. From Slowdown to Speedup
4. Out of the Darkness
It is more economical to buy the entire back issue than to download each article separately.

The Once and Future Cosmos, fall 2002 special newsstand issue.

COBE Corroborated, February 1993

The Evolution of the Universe, October 1994

Big Bang Researchers Snag Nobel Prize

The scientists discovered the nature of "blackbody radiation,'' cosmic background radiation believed to stem from the "big bang,'' when the universe was born. "They have not proven the big-bang theory but they give it very strong support,'' said Per Carlson, chairman of the Nobel committee for physics. "It is one of the greatest discoveries of the century. I would call it the greatest. It increases our knowledge of our place in the universe.''




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