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Science and Society | Opening the Infrared Treasure Chest with the James Webb Space Telescope

Science and Society | Opening the Infrared Treasure Chest with the James Webb Space Telescope


The James Webb Space Telescope was launched on December 25, 2021, and commissioning was completed in early July 2022. With its 6.5 meter golden eye, and cameras and spectrometers covering 0.6 to 28 µm (microns), Webb is already producing magnificent images of galaxies, active galactic nuclei, star-forming regions, and planets. Scientists are hunting for some of the first objects that formed after the Big Bang, the first black holes (primordial or formed in galaxies), and beginning to observe the growth of galaxies, the formation of stars and planetary systems, individual exoplanets and all objects in the Solar System from Mars on out. It could observe a something the size of a bumblebee at the Earth-Moon distance, in reflected sunlight and thermal emission. This online talk by Dr. John Mather will describe how the Webb telescope was built and what we hope to find. Webb is a joint project of NASA with the European and Canadian space agencies.

Dr. John Mather is Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, leading the science teams since 1995. As a postdoc at NASA’s GISS in 1974, he led the proposal efforts for the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), coming to GSFC to be the COBE Project Scientist and Principal Investigator for the Far IR Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) on COBE. With the team, he confirmed the universe is expanding to extraordinary accuracy. The team also made the first map of the hot and cold spots in the background radiation (anisotropy). Dr. Mather received the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics with George Smoot. He also is the co-author, with John Boslough, of The Very First Light: The True Inside Story of the Scientific Journey Back to the Dawn of the Universe, a gripping tale of big money, bigger egos, tense politics, and cutting-edge engineering, offering a rare insider's account of the world of big science.

We invite you to support the author by purchasing a copy of their book from Browseabout Books by clicking HERE. Call-in orders are accepted at (302) 226-2665 or you can stop by the store to purchase a copy. For store hours, please visit their website. Each copy purchased comes with a signed archival bookplate. The author also has donated a limited number of signed copies of the book, which may be picked up at the Lewes Public Library (while supplies last).

The conversation will be moderated by Colin Norman, the former News Editor at Science, and Fred Dylla, Executive Director Emeritus of the American Institute of Physics and author of Scientific Journeys. This event is part of the series Science and Society - Making Sense of the World Around Us, launched by the Lewes Public Library last year and co-organized by Fred Dylla and Linda Dylla.

NOTE: this meeting is being conducted through Zoom. You MUST REGISTER to receive instructions for joining the meeting.

If you have need assistance with registration or getting your Zoom invitation, please email us.

Basic written instructions for using Zoom may be found here and a brief video tutorial may be found here. Closed captioning is available for all our sessions. Information on enabling closed captioning in Zoom may be found here.

This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
5:00pm - 6:00pm Eastern Time
Lewes Public Library
  Adults     Older Adults  
Registration has closed.