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WASHINGTON, DC - Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman today congratulated Dr. George F. Smoot of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. John C. Mather of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for co-winning the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics.
"I offer my congratulations to George Smoot and John Mather for their outstanding contributions to science, which are being recognized with the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics," Secretary Bodman said. "The groundbreaking work of these two American scientists showed us how to look back in time to the very infancy of our universe, so we might better understand how it came to be, and where it is going. They began a scientific journey that we are still on today, one I am sure that will lead to more amazing discoveries in the future."
The two American scientists were honored for leading the enormous teams of researchers, engineers and others who worked on the historic 1989 NASA COBE satellite experiment and measured its results. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics jointly to Dr. Mather and Dr. Smoot "for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation." The Academy's news release announcing the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics noted that "the COBE results provided increased support for the Big Bang theory of the universe" and "also marked the inception of cosmology as a precise science."
"DOE takes particular pride in the contributions of George Smoot and our Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory," DOE Under Secretary for Science Raymond L. Orbach said. "The DOE Office of Science supported Dr. Smoot's research during the period in which he worked on the COBE experiment, and we continue to support him today. In addition, one of the principal instruments for the NASA COBE experiment used to make the discoveries was built at Berkeley Lab at facilities maintained by the Office of Science. This is an example of the scientific excellence that DOE supports."
The Department of Energy has sponsored 44 Nobel Laureates since DOE's inception in 1977 - and a total of 84 Nobel Laureates associated with DOE and its predecessor agencies since 1934.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences news release announcing the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics is at http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2006/press.html.
Information about Nobel laureates supported by the Department of Energy is available at http://www.science.doe.gov/Accomplishments_Awards/Heroes/heroes.htm.
Jeff Sherwood, (202) 586-5806