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.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.