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08 April, 2009

UNITEN Tun Mahathir Lecture Series 2009 by Prof. George F. Smoot
UNITEN Tun Mahathir Lecture Series 2009
by Nobel Prize Winner Professor George F Smoot
8 April 2009, 2:00 PM
This lecture is part of the ASEAN-wide “Bridges – Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace’ programme hosted through the International Peace Foundation.

Professor George Fitzgerald Smoot

is the Director of the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics who was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics `for the discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation’.

In April 1992 Professor Smoot made the announcement that the team he led had detected the long sought variations in the early universe that had been observed by the COBE DMR. NASA’s COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) satellite mapped the intensity of the radiation from the early Big Bang and found variations so small they had to be the seeds on which gravity worked to grow the galaxies, clusters of galaxies and clusters of clusters that are observed in the universe today. These variations are also relics of creation.

As team leader of the group that designed and studied information from one of the three instruments on the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite, Professor Smoot is responsible for the best picture of the early universe available to science. Using instruments carried by balloon, on U-2 spy planes, and finally by satellite, Professor Smoot has spent the last twenty years examining the faint but ever present microwave radiation remnants from the time when light first became visible in the universe, 300,000 years after the big bang and 15 billion years ago.

Professor Smoot continues research in cosmology and is involved in the Planck and SNAP missions. The Planck mission is the third generation mission to exploit the CMB fluctuations discovered by COBE DMR. SNAP is a mission to understand the Dark Energy causing the current expansion of the universe to accelerate.

George Smoot received his Bachelor degrees in mathematics and physics in 1966 and a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT in 1970. He has been at the University of California Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 1970 and is the author of more than 200 science papers and of the popularized scientific book `Wrinkles in Time’ that elucidates cosmology and the COBE discovery. His honours include the NASA Medal for Exceptional Science Achievement, the Kilby Award, the Lawrence Award and the Einstein Medal.

“Contemplating the Birth of the Universe” (Professor George Fitzgerald Smoot)

Using our most advanced techniques and instruments, we sift through relic clues and evidence to understand the events surrounding the birth and subsequent development of the Universe. A precision inspection and investigation of the Cosmic Scene along with careful analysis, discussion and computer modeling have allowed us to determine what happened over billions of years with amazing certainty and accuracy. Some of our findings are surprising and even provide shocking twists of plot.

There remain even more mysteries to be solved. In spite of that, we can tell the tale of the creation and history of the Universe shows key supporting evidence, some of it from very early times including using the cosmic background light to provide a direct image of the embryo universe.

Contact Person:
Datin Noor Zarina Bt Musa at 03-89287104 | Email: or Puan Mazrah Yunus at 03-89287105 | Email :


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