Stevens presents a guest lecture by Dr. John C. Mather, Nobel Laureate, March 17

Mather will discuss the history of the universe and how systems engineers work with scientists


HOBOKEN, N.J. - Stevens Institute of Technology will present a guest lecture by Dr. John C. Mather, Nobel Laureate, 2006 (Physics), onWednesday, March 17, 2010 at 6 p.m. in the DeBaun Auditorium.

In his talk, “ The History of the Universe and How Systems Engineers work with Scientists,” Mather will outline the whole history of the universe and how Systems Engineering has contributed to our knowledge of it. We now know that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, that the Earth is a newcomer made of bits of exploded stars, and that our Sun will drive us away in another billion years before it dies 7 billion years from now. How do we know that?

Mather will tell a very short version of the story. In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered the expanding universe. In 1989, NASA launched the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite to measure the residual heat of the Big Bang and begin the era of precision cosmology. As Project Scientist, Mather worked with brilliant engineers to build what had never been built before, to discover what had never been known before. Seventeen years later, this mission earned a Nobel Prize. Now, as senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, Mather works with a new team of brilliant engineers to build a telescope far more powerful than the great Hubble Space Telescope and extends our knowledge far beyond anything we know today. He will outline the major new technologies and describe some of the systems engineering approaches they are taking to ensure that this magnificent observatory will work as planned.

Mather is the Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope at Goddard Space Flight Center. His research centers on infrared astronomy and cosmology. As an NRC postdoctoral fellow at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies ( New York City), he led the proposal efforts for the Cosmic Background Explorer (74-76), and came to GSFC to be the Study Scientist (76-88), Project Scientist (88-98), and the Principal Investigator for the Far IR Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) on COBE.  He showed that the cosmic microwave background radiation has a blackbody spectrum within 50 parts per million, confirming the Big Bang theory to extraordinary accuracy. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Nobel Prize in Physics (2006) with George Smoot, for the COBE work, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (2007). He is a member of many professional societies including the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Swarthmore College with highest honors in physics in 1968, and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1974. His doctoral advisor was Paul Richards, and his thesis on measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation led directly to the COBE satellite.

About Stevens Institute of Technology

Founded in 1870 and celebrating 140 Years of Innovation, Stevens Institute of Technology, The Innovation University TM , lives at the intersection of industry, academics and research.  The University's students, faculty and partners leverage their collective real-world experience and culture of innovation, research and entrepreneurship to confront global challenges in engineering, science, systems and technology management.

Based in Hoboken, N.J. and with a location in Washington, D.C., Stevens offers baccalaureate, master’s, certificates and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences and management, in addition to baccalaureate degrees in business and liberal arts.  Stevens has been recognized by both the US Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Excellence in the areas of systems engineering and port security research. The University has a total enrollment of more than 2,200 undergraduate and 3,700 graduate students with almost 450 faculty. Stevens’ graduate programs have attracted international participation from China, India, Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America as well as strategic partnerships with industry leaders, governments and other universities around the world. Additional information may be obtained at and