John Cromwell Mather (born August 7, 1946, Roanoke, Virginia) is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his work on the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite (COBE) with George Smoot.
This work helped cement the big-bang theory of the universe. According to the Nobel Prize committee, "the COBE-project can also be regarded as the starting point for cosmology as a precision science."
Mather is a senior astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Maryland and adjunct professor of physics at the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. In 2007, Mather was listed among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World. In October, 2012, he was listed again by Time magazine in a special issue on New Space Discoveries as one of 25 most influential people in space.
Mather is also the project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a space telescope scheduled to be launched to Lagrange Point L2 in March of 2021.
In 2014, Mather delivered an address on the Webb Space Telescope at the second Starmus Festival in the Canary Islands.
Education and initial research
1964 Newton High School, Newton, New Jersey
1968 B.Sc. (Physics), Swarthmore College (Highest Honors)
1974 Ph.D. (Physics), University of California, Berkeley
1974-76 (NRC Postdoctoral Fellow), Columbia University Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Honors and awards
- 1964-68 Swarthmore College Open Scholarship (honorary)
- 1967 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, 30th place nationwide
- 1968 Highest possible score (990), physics Grad Records
- 1968-70 NSF Fellowship and honorary Woodrow Wilson Fellowship
- 1970-74 Fellow, Hertz Foundation
- 1974-76 Postdoctoral Fellow, NRC
- 1990 NASA GSFC John C. Lindsay Memorial Award
- 1991 Rotary National Space Achievement Award
- 1991 National Air and Space Museum Trophy
- 1992 Aviation Week and Space Technology Laurels for Space/Missiles
- 1993 Discover Magazine Technology Award finalist
- 1993 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space Science Award
- 1993 American Astronomical Society and American Institute of Physics Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics
- 1994 Fellow, Goddard Space Flight Center
- 1994 Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Swarthmore College
- 1995 City of Philadelphia John Scott Award
- 1996 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Rumford Prize
- 1996 Fellow, American Physical Society
- 1997 Aviation Week and Space Technology Hall of Fame
- 1997 Member, National Academy of Sciences
- 1998 Marc Aaronson Memorial Prize
- 1998 Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- 1999 Franklin Institute Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics
- 2005 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers George W. Goddard Award
- 2006 Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation Prize in Cosmology
- 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics
- 2007 Fellow, SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
- 2008 Robinson Prize
- 2008 Doctor of Science, honoris causa, University of Maryland
- 2008, Commencement Speaker, University of Maryland Winter Commencement
- 2010 India General President Gold Medal
- 2010 Fellow of the Optical Society of America
- 2011 Doctor of Science, honoris causa, University of Notre Dame
- Mather, J. C. "Far Infrared Spectrometry of the Cosmic Background Radiation", University of California Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), (Jan. 1974).
- Mather, J. C.; Albrecht, A.; et al. "Report of the Dark Energy Task Force", Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, United States Department of Energy, (2006).
- Mather, J. C.;Boslough, John; the very first light; 1996,2008 Basic Books
Mather is the Science Director of the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists. He has been a keynote speaker at the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders (2015, 2016).