To kick off our special summer series about data, we interviewed 2006 Nobel Laureate John Mather about the importance of imagery in communicating science and sharing data with the public. More than just “pretty pictures,” data can be used to tell a story and explain the mysteries of the cosmos. Not every piece of data would be considered a work of art, but the information contained is at the very heart of NASA science.
Working with COBE and the James Webb Space Telescope, Dr. Mather is no stranger to the power of data and the importance of scientific imagery. We got the scoop on how data is used in communication and why every bit of data is beautiful in its own way.
John Mather, COBE, and JWST
Dr. John Mather was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize (in conjunction with Dr. George Smoot) in Physics for his work on cosmology with the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite. He is currently the project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. To learn more about Dr. Mather and his projects, visit:
- COBE, Cosmology, and John Mather – The official NASA site about John Mather and his projects.
- We produced an episode in 2007 about Dr. Mather (Cool Science for Hot Times), which was so popular that we released an extended version of his interview.
- James Webb Space Telescope – All about JWST, the successor to Hubble.
We promised you some pretty pictures, and we plan to deliver! Here are some of the images discussed in this episode:
- COBE Science Results – This page displays and explains the cosmic microwave background data detected by COBE instruments. It may look like pop art, but those swirling colors are a “baby picture” of the Universe’s early years.
- The Hubble Deep Field revealed thousands of galaxies and other objects in a patch of seemingly blank sky. You can watch a brief movie about the Deep Field at that link, or download pretty pictures from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field observations.
- JWST will build upon Hubble’s Deep Field observations. Here are simulated images of what we hope to see with JWST.
|Theme Music||Naked Singularity|
|Website Support||Meredith Gibb
|Executive Producer||Anita Krishnamurthi|
|Responsible NASA Official||Kim Weaver|
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