John Mather, PhD

1970 Hertz Fellow
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John Mather is an astrophysicist, cosmologist, and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite (COBE), which measured the black body form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation.

Mather’s work helped cement the big-bang theory of the universe. According to the Nobel Prize committee, “the COBE-project can also be regarded as the starting point for cosmology as a precision science.”

Mather is a senior astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and adjunct professor of physics at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Mather is also the project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest, most powerful, and complex space telescope ever built and launched into space.

He received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania as well as a doctorate in physics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Graduate Studies

University of California, Berkeley
Far Infrared Spectrometry of the Cosmic Background Radiation


2011, Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
2006, Nobel Prize, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
1996, Rumford Prize, American Academy of Arts & Sciences
1996, Fellow, American Physical Society
1999, Benjamin Franklin Medal, The Franklin Institute
1997, Member, American Academy of Arts & Sciences
1997, Member, National Academy of Sciences