Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, General Astronomy > Johns Hopkins Astrophysicist Charles Bennett And WMAP Team Win 2012 Gruber Prize

Johns Hopkins Astrophysicist Charles Bennett And WMAP Team Win 2012 Gruber Prize


Johns Hopkins University professor Charles L. Bennett and members of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) space mission that he led will receive the Gruber Foundation’s 2012 Cosmology Prize in Beijing, China tomorrow.

Bennett and the 26-member WMAP team will share the $500,000 prize and are being recognized by the foundation for their transformative study of an ancient light dating back to the infant universe. So precise and accurate are the WMAP results that they form the foundation of the Standard Cosmological Model.

Bennett will receive a gold medal at the International Astronomical Union meeting on August 21, and will deliver a lecture on the 22nd. Watch Bennett explain WMAP’s groundbreaking science in a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72Y0mvXsHS0

“It is tremendously exciting to be recognized with the Gruber Cosmology Prize,” said Bennett, Alumni Centennial Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Gilman Scholar in the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins’ Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. “I have been very fortunate to work with the talented and fine people of the WMAP team, and I am particularly delighted that our entire science team has been honored with this prestigious award.”

Under Bennett’s direction, the WMAP mission determined with unprecedented precision the age, shape (WMAP nailed down the curvature of space to within 0.6% of conventional Euclidean geometry), composition and history of the universe from the first-ever, exquisitely detailed full-sky “baby picture” of the universe, dating from when it was only 378,000 years old — 13.75 billion years ago. Using this picture, the team determined that the universe consists of 72.8 percent dark energy, 22.7 percent dark matter and 4.6 percent atoms. The team also concluded that the first stars formed when the universe was only about 400 million years old. The WMAP data substantiated key predictions of the cosmic inflation paradigm that describes the first trillionth of a trillionth of a second of the universe, while at the same time ruling out some specific implementations of the theory. WMAP data also place limits on the mass of the neutrino (an elementary particle with no electrical charge and travels at almost the speed of light), and provide evidence for primordial helium, consistent with big bang theory predictions.

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: