George Smoot


George Smoot shared the 2006 Nobel Physics Prize with John C. Mather "for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation" While earning his Ph.D. in particle physics, George Smoot got interested in the Cosmic Microwave Background, but let it wait. He took his first job at Berkeley and began working on a NASA funded project known as the High-Altitude Particle Physics Experiment (HAPPE), which probed for interactions occurring at higher energies than accelerators could produce during that time. HAPPE unfortunately crashed into the ocean, and Smoot began looking for evidence of the Big Bang. He helped develop and use a differential microwave radiometer (DMR) whose measurements provided evidence that the universe is not rotating and is expanding, and furthermore that it is not homogenous. After this, in 1976, Smoot began working on COBE (Cosmic Background Experiment) with NASA. In 1992, after carefully checking the data from COBE, Smoot gave the go-ahead to announce the results that provided conclusive evidence of the Big Bang theory.