John C. Mather
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2006
Born: 7 August 1946, Roanoke, VA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation."
Prize share: 1/2
Various types of particles and radiation travel through outer space, including cosmic background radiation, which has been carefully studied through measurements from the COBE satellite. John Mather, a driving force in the project, had particular responsibility for a part that in 1989 indicated that cosmic background radiation's spectrum corresponds to black-body radiation - radiation emitted by a dark, glowing body. The result provided evidence that the background radiation is a remnant from the creation of the universe in the Big Bang.