It has the sensitivity to observe a bumblebee on the moon. The James Webb Space Telescope will launch in one year, and when it does, it will be the most powerful space telescope ever built, a time machine that will peer back over 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies forming out of the darkness of the early universe.
NASA’s John Mather, who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2006, will give a Colloquium on the telescope on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 4 p.m. in One West. His talk, titled “Future Science and Brilliant Engineering with the James Webb Space Telescope,” will cover the telescope’s ambitious program: how scientists plan to use the telescope to study the history of Earth, examine the first stars and galaxies, and investigate the growth and formation of stars, galaxies and planetary systems. And if there is anything that makes Earth special, perhaps the telescope can help answer that question.
One highlight of the talk will be a discussion of the extraordinary engineering challenges required to meet the scientific requirements.
Mather and George Smoot won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation. Mather is senior project scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope and an astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Pushpa Bhat is a senior scientist in the Particle Physics Division and the Directorate and the chair of the Fermilab Colloquium Committee, which organizes the Colloquium series.