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Media Advisory

Astrophysicist George Smoot wins Nobel Prize
 

03 October 2006

ATTENTION: news editors, science reporters

Contact: Robert Sanders, Media Relations
(510) 643-6998 rsanders@berkeley.edu


WHAT
A press conference for credentialed media to introduce the co-winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics, UC Berkeley physics professor and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) astrophysicist George Smoot.

A telephone call-in press conference at 1 p.m. (PDT). News media in the United States call (877)-232-4392; News media outside the United State call (601)-354-1086. The guest code is 923774.

WHEN
This morning, Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Reporters may arrive beginning at 9:15 a.m.

WHERE
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Building 50 auditorium, Cyclotron Road (at the top of Hearst Avenue, above the UC Berkeley campus.) Guards at the Gate will issue parking permits and direct drivers to reserved parking.

WHO
Professor George F. Smoot, co-winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics. Smoot shares the prize with John C. Mather of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

In addition to George Smoot, others at the press conference include Nobel Laureate and LBNL Director Steve Chu and UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau.

DETAILS
Smoot, 61, and Mather together led a team that obtained the first images of the infant universe, confirming the predictions of the Big Bang theory. They oversaw the building and launch of the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite in 1989 to look for telltale signs of the primordial explosion, the Big Bang. They announced in 1992 the discovery of residual heat from the explosion, in addition to variations in temperature across the sky that indicated the beginnings of structure in the early universe.

"Those measurements really confirmed our picture of the Big Bang," Smoot said. "By studying the fluctuations in the microwave background, we found a tool that allowed us to explore the early universe, to see how it evolved and what it's made of."

This is UC Berkeley's 20th Nobel Prize since Ernest O. Lawrence won in 1939, and its eighth physics Nobel.