Public Talk at Chichen Itza during outing of 'Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation' winter school

A short portion of the public talk by Prof. George Smoot in front of the great pyramid in Chichen Itza as part of the winter school 'Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation'.



Saul Perlmutter Wins 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics

The prize was awarded "for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae". He shares the award with Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess.




Dark Energy Search with Supernova Dataset

The Supernova Cosmology Project’s Union2 compilation and reanalysis represents decades of supernova surveys from the world’s leading researchers. Combined with the addition of six high-redshift supernovae, this effort puts new bounds on possible values for the nature of dark energy. Einstein’s cosmological constant comfortably fits the data, but there’s still plenty of room at the top for dynamical theories. Read more here.




Let the Games Begin

Protons were whipped around a 17-mile underground magnetic track to more than 99 percent of the speed of light at CERN's Large Hadron Collider on March 30th.They crashed together inside apartment-building-size detectors designed to capture every evanescent flash and fragment from microscopic fireballs thought to hold insights into the beginning of the universe. The soundless blooming of proton explosions was accompanied by the hoots and applause of scientists crowded into control rooms at CERN. Read more here.




BCCP Hosts the 2011 Cosmology Workshop for High School Teachers and Students

At the BCCP cosmology workshops, prominent physicists present the current scientific view of the history and structure of the universe. Students and teachers learn how scientists do research in cosmology and particle physics, and teachers share physics lessons. The 2011 just finished. Click here for student comments and watch for the details of the workshop coming soon..




Split Personalities Of A Galactic Size

A team of astronomers led by Niv Drory of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Kevin Bundy (UC Berkeley), and Alexie Leauthaud (LBNL and BCCP) used data from the COSMOS project to explore the connections between the growth of dark matter halos and the growth of galaxies within these dark matter halos.




Weak Lensing Gains Strength

Weak gravitational lensing is a uniquely promising way to learn how much dark matter there is in the Universe and how its distribution has evolved since the distant past. Alexie Leauthaud's team has made major progress in extending the use of gravitational lensing to the study of much older and smaller structures than was previously possible.




Madly Mapping the Universe

It takes special software to map the universe from noisy data. Berkeley Lab scientists developed a code called MADmap to do just that for the cosmic microwave background, then posted it on the web for other interested sky mappers. Scientists probing the sky with the PACS instrument aboard the Herschel satellite have adapted MADmap to make spectacular images of the infrared universe. Julian Borrill, Radek Stompor, and Andrew Jaffe devised the Microwave Anisotropy Dataset Computational Analysis Package, or MADCAP. Read more from Paul Preuss here.





Cosmology for the Next Generation

The 2010 Cosmology conference was hosted by BCCP and The Advanced Institute for Cosmology, Mexico. A range of topics in cosmology were presented by eminent scholars in the field.

Music of the Universe

What if the light waves emitted by the exploding star and other cosmological phenomena could be translated into sound? That’s the idea behind “Rhythms of the Universe,” by Mickey Hart. Hart presented his composition using supernova and other astrophysics data during the Cosmology for the Next Generation conference.



San Francisco Chronicle interview with Professor Smoot

January 3, 2010  BCCP Director George Smoot discussed his achievements, activites, and the goals of BCCP, including the Global Teacher Academy. The Academy seeks to train 40 teachers a year using science and math content with cosmology as a "story line" and offering practical, hands-on instruction. Those teachers would then train the teachers at their own schools, expanding the reach of the program. Read more here.




Dr. Smoot Meets Pope Benedict XVI

November 29, 2009  George Smoot delivered a major address on observational cosmology to scientists, pontifical dignitaries, and Pope Benedict XVI at the 2009 conference at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. The event also celebrated the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first observations with the telescope. While the pope indicated “there is no conflict on the horizon between scientific, philosophical, and theological knowledge,” he cautioned against the risk if man “relies only on science and forgets to raise his eyes beyond himself.” More on the conference here.




La prima luce dell' Universo

December 3, 2009

Dr. Smoot gave a public lecture in Milano about his Nobel Prize winning research on the Cosmic Microwave Background. The program is entitled The First Light of the Universe.

Poster pdf here.





Lawrence Berkeley Lab and Korean University Sign Understanding

George Smoot (center) represented Berkeley Lab at the signing of an agreement with representatives of South Korea’s University of Incheon to explore the potential for joint scientific research in energy, biology, accelerators, cosmology, and space.

Hankyung News coverage of event (in Korean)
More Korean news coverage here




Chi ha detto che il cosmo è stato fatto per l’uomo? (Who said the universe was made for man?)

October, 2009  Dr. Smoot discusses the history and fate of the universe with Italian periodical La Stampa (in Italian). PDF file of article.





Dr. Smoot visits Ulsan Science High School in South Korea

September, 2009  As part of the Global Teacher Academy outreach and education effort, Dr. Smoot lectured at the Science High School in Ulsan, South Korea. The school was established in 2003 for gifted students pursuing careers in science. Its goal is to foster creative leaders for the future through specialized science education.



Smoot gets gold on season finale of "Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader." Friday, September 18, on FOX.

In what state is Acadia National Park? That was the final question posed to Berkeley Lab Nobelist George Smoot, a contestant on the popular "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" game show last Friday. With ominous music playing in the background and tension filling the air, Smoot vacillated between California and Maine, but finally declared his decision…Maine. It was correct and Smoot became only the second contestant to win one million dollars and the right to say: "Yes, I’m smarter than a 5th grader!" Go here to view a YouTube clip of the final question and ensuing celebration.



 POVO-Science & Technology conference:
 Scientific Talent Development


Océ Technologies Auditorium, Venlo, The Netherlands
June 2009, Dr. Smoot spoke at the conference that addressed the importance of early exposure to science and the positive effects of cooperation between primary and high schools. Creative ways to motivate and encourage students to choose an education and a profession in science and engineering were highlighted. Learn more.


Dr. Smoot with enthusiastic students at the POVO conference



Cosmology's Golden Age

June 2009, Four centuries after Galileo Galilei turned his telescope to the heavens, George Smoot considers the unprecedented and exciting times that cosmologists are now experiencing.

"La verità è il destino per il quale siamo stati fatti (Truth is the destiny for which we were made)". This article gives an example of how "truth" is achieved through "discovery" – the method used in science. By revealing nature, discovery is the way in which we can achieve truth, or at least glimpse it. But how can we know or have confidence that we have made a correct discovery? Here we can look to the major architect of the scientific method, Galileo Galilei: "La matematica è l'afabeto nel quale Dio ha scritto l'Universo" (Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe). A discovery will be described best – and most economically and poetically – mathematically. Read full article.

Letra Libres La época dorada de la cosmología - Cosmology's Golden Age en Español



Planck Launch

Planck was launched on May 14, 2009. Its objective is to analyze the remnants of the radiation that filled the universe immediately after The Big Bang - the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. Planck will provide answers to some of the most important questions in modern science about the evolution of the universe.




Online games spark girls' interests in science & technology
By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley News, May 2009

The Universe Quest Game, an immersive game similar to the popular multi-user virtual world called "Second Life," is being made possible by a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to the University of California, Berkeley. "Girls have traditionally been left out of the pipeline to technology careers, and African Americans as well, and there is a strong sense that we need to reach these very talented populations," said Carl Pennypacker, UC Berkeley principal investigator of the "Universe Quest" project. "We know we can inspire the students, and we know from research that inspired children learn more and achieve more." Read more here.

In the online virtual world of "Universe Quest," young
girls can create characters that interact with one
another and operate a virtual telescope as if it were
real, obtaining actual images through a small
telescope in Arizona. (UC Berkeley image)



Science Progress

What Does This Generation Think it Means to be a “Scientist”?
By Paul Moody, April 2009

Changing Definitions Could Entail a Changing Relationship Between Science and Society. A recent survey of more than 1000 of young scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), reveals an unusually broad range of career aspirations...Faculty and students can talk honestly about a whole range of respected, science-related career possibilities. This is crucial, because we must promote the movement of scientists into many occupations and environments if our end goal is to effectively apply science and its values to solving global problems. Read more.













March 2009, Professor Smoot poses with members of The Institute of the Early Universe. He was featured in the April issue of a prominent Korean science magazine. PDF (in Korean)




South Korea Ewha Academy Nobel Lectures with George Smoot
March 2009

Poster 1
Poster 2

The Dong-A Ilbo (one of South Korea's major newspapers) reports on Dr. Smoot's first public lecture.  "In his first lecture as chair professor of Ewha Womans University in Seoul, 2006 Nobel Prize winner in physics George F. Smoot said Korean college students lack scientific fundamentals." Read more here.





George F. Smoot has been awarded the 2009 Oersted Medal

George F. Smoot - Recognized for Outstanding Leadership in Physics Education. The American Association for the Advancement of Science selected Dr. Smoot as the winner of the 2009 American Association of Physics Teachers Oersted Medal. The Oersted Medal, established in 1936, recognizes those who have had an outstanding, widespread, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics. His research and writing on Cosmic Background Radiation anisotropy and the formation of galaxies has had a significant impact on our understanding of universe evolution, and on the teaching of physics and astronomy.

The Oersted Medal will be presented to Dr. Smoot at a Ceremonial Session of the AAPT Winter Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, on Saturday, February 14, 2009. Following the presentation, Dr. Smoot will deliver his keynote address titled “The History and Fate of the Universe.” Read more.





Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace

The Bridges event series will be held in Malaysia and Thailand from November 2008 to April 2009. This follows the successful Bridges series that have been held in Thailand since 2003, and in the Philippines since 2007. Berkeley Lab Nobelist George Smoot will give four talks on “Contemplating the Birth of the Universe” between April 6 and 9 at various locations in Thailand. The Bridges programs have been initiated and facilitated by the Vienna-based International Peace Foundation under the joint patronage of 21 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. They stand in the tradition of the Peace Summits which have been held in Europe since 1993. See previous Bridges here.





March 2009, Dr. Smoot made a cameo appearance on "The Big Bang Theory" produced by Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre, Warner Bros. Studios for CBS. Watch full episode.
Watch behind the scenes.

LA Times Entertainment: What's Sheldon's deal? If you were a brilliant nerd, what would get you hottest under the collar?




Serious Play - The Art Center Design Conference May, 2008 The biennial Art Center Design Conference was a three-day international gathering of entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and innovators from many fields and disciplines. The 2008 Conference, Serious Play, explored the essential role of play in business, the arts, science, storytelling, technology, and more. Professor George Smoot's talk, The Design of the Universe, gave viewers a new cosmic perspective by explaining the intricate designs found in nature. Playfully titled “CSI: Cosmic Scene Investigation” Smoot engaged the audience by examining the relics of creation, what happened at The Beginning, and how to understand it.
YouTube Video




A Nerdy Comedy's Winning Formula
As sitcoms wane, 'The Big Bang Theory' has become an unlikely ratings hit  By John Jurgensen

BURBANK, Calif. - During a recent taping of CBS's "The Big Bang Theory," the opening scene featured some unlikely dialogue for a prime-time comedy, including references to galactic dark matter and high-energy positrons. Almost as unusual as the science jargon: the live studio audience laughing at it. Read more from WSJ.





Berkeley Lab In The News: Smoot to Teach at New Silicon Valley University January, 2009

Starting this summer, some of the world's leading thinkers in exponentially growing technologies will be gathering annually at Nasa Ames Research Center, in the heart of Silicon Valley, for 10 weeks of discussions on how to change the future. The gatherings will be part of what is known as Singularity University. Among the faculty is Berkeley Lab physicist and Nobel Prize winner George Smoot. More here.


Nobelist George Smoot to Direct Korean Cosmology Institute

December 2008

Nobel Laureate George Smoot has been appointed director of a new cosmology institute in South Korea that will work closely with the year-old Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics (BCCP) at the University of California, Berkeley, to explore and understand the early universe.

Last week, South Korea's Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology named Smoot a visiting scholar at Ewha (eee-hua) Womans University, a private university in Seoul where he will teach several courses over the next five years as he oversees the creation of the Institute for the Early Universe. Smoot was one of two Nobel Laureates chosen to set up top-notch research programs through South Korea's World Class University program. Read more from UC Berkeley News.




IEU Director George Smoot at the 2009 Nobel Forum May 2009
Innovation in Higher Education: Global Collaborative Research

Dr. Smoot joined distinguished panelists at the May 2009 Nobel Forum in Seoul, South Korea to discuss the role of science, technology, and education. The forum addresed effective methods to promote academic performance and develop competitive Korean universities in the international academic environment.



IEU Post Doc Announcement
December 26, 2008  The Institute for the Early Universe (IEU) at Ewha University in Seoul, Korea is soliciting several up to ten postdoctoral research fellows within one year to participate in an exciting new research program to explore and understand the early universe.

IEU at EWHA Womans University in Seoul, Korea will provide cosmology education and training, conduct scientific research, and participate in major space projects. IEU is supported by EWHA University and the World Class University (WCU) project. WCU is the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology project designed to improve research programs of Korean universities. The Institute for the Early Universe will also be a partner in the Cosmology on the Beach conferences hosted by BCCP, The Institute for Advanced Cosmology, and the Universe Cluster.



Chanju Kim, George Smoot, Changrim Ahn, Il H. Park in front of the Ewha University Archive




La Competencia Intelectual

November, 2008  Dr. Smoot received an honorary doctorate degree from University Miguel Hernández (UMH) in Orihuela, Spain and was an inaugural guest at the opening of the Didático Interactive Museum of Science.
Dr. Smoot (left) and the chancellor of UMH, Jesús Rodríguez Marín (right), compete on bicycles attached to toy cars in the School of Orihuela (EPSO) during inauguration week of the Didático Interactive Museum. In the center, Mayor Monica Lorente, and Carnicer Jesus Murillo, president of the Association of Science Teachers, enjoy the competition. (Photo: Salvador Castillo)


El primer museo interactivo de ciencias de la provincia abre sus puertas en Orihuela

The first interactive museum of science in the province opens its doors in Orihuela (translated)

Bajo Segura Noticias article about the new museum and Dr. Smoot's visit (translated)



A multimedia science competition was held for students as part of the Didático Interactive Museum inaugural events. Students could create models, narratives, comics, or videos that explained scientific principles.

Competion brochure (en español)

Spain Slideshow




2008 Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau

Nature Video presents five short films on the future of physics. Recorded at the 2008 Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, these films capture the conversations between young researchers and physics Laureates George Smoot, William Phillips, John Hall, David Gross and Gerardus 't Hooft. Join them as they grapple with universal ideas including dark matter, dark energy, the Large Hadron Collider, space-time and quantum computing.




Dark Energy Rules the Universe (and Why the Dinosaurs Don't)

The revolutionary discovery that the expansion of the universe is speeding up, not slowing down from gravity, means that 75 percent of our universe consists of mysterious dark energy. Berkeley Lab physicist Eric Linder delves into the mystery of dark energy as part of the Science in the Theatre lecture series on Nov. 24, 2008.




The "2008 Nobel Winners Beijing Forum" was held from November 11-14. The theme of the forum was The Harmony and Development of Human Kind, with a focus on Information & Innovation.

Guests included global scholars and Nobel Prize winners, who gave academic lectures and presided over forums. There were multi-level discussions on academic, social, and industrial issues. Nobel winners, Chinese scholars, and Chinese government officials exchanged ideas and sought to promote international cooperation.

Dr. Smoot lectured on the "Singularity University: Preparing Humanity for Accelerating Technological Change"

Photos from the event




George Smoot wins Oersted Medal

November, 2008  The American Association of Physics Teachers recently announced the awarding of the Oersted Medal to Berkeley Lab physicist and Nobelist George Smoot. The award recognizes “his outstanding, widespread, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics.” The Oersted Medal is named for Hans Christian Oersted (1777-1851), a Danish physicist who, in the course of creating a demonstration for teaching his class, discovered that electric currents caused a magnetic field. The annual award was established in 1936. (From Today at Berkeley Lab)


PDF of press release



First beam in the LHC - Accelerating Science

Geneva, 10 September 2008. The first beam in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN was successfully steered around the full 27 kilometres of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator at 10h28 this morning. This historic event marks a key moment in the transition from over two decades of preparation to a new era of scientific discovery.



Chilean President Bachelet Visits Lawrence Berkeley Lab to Learn about Research on Renewable Energy and Conservation  June 13, 2008

President Bachelet and members of her delegation were greeted at Berkeley Lab by Nobel Laureate George Smoot; James Siegrist- Associate Laboratory Director for General Science; and Harley Shaiken - Chair for Latin American Studies on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. Read more from the Berkeley Lab News Center.

George Smoot and James Siegrist greet President
Bachelet at Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Photo: Roy Kaltschmidt


Hawking, NASA Head, Nobel Winners Visit The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) May 2008


AIMS welcomed a stellar group of scientists and engineers to the launch of the NextEinstein initiative on May 11, and the opening of the AIMS Research Centre on May 12. The group included the famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking, the NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, and the winners of the 2004 and 2006 Nobel Prizes in Physics, David Gross and George Smoot. Many distinguished pan-African and international scientists, business and technology leaders, and political representatives also participated. Read more about AIMS - PDF


Read more about NextEinstein - PDF


The National Institute for Theoretical Physics  May 2008

The launch of The National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITheP) was held at the new Wallenberg Research Centre of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS). The event was attended by David Gross, Stephen Hawking, and George Smoot. NITheP is a geographically distributed institute which also has regional centres at the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and the Witwatersrand. It is being positioned as a national and African user facility for theoretical physics and will provide theoretical underpinning for current national programmes including astrophysics, cosmology, nuclear and particle physics, quantum technologies, condensed matter physics and quantum optics.

Read the proposal for the National Theoretical Physics Facility for South Africa (PDF)



60 of the world's greatest minds share their vision of the next half century in the new Mike Wallace book. Astrophysicists, conservation biologists, economists, military commanders, internet pioneers, neurologists and more provide commentary and insight about the new century and our near future. Included is an essay by BCCP director George F. Smoot: "A Tiny Dot in Cosmic Time; A Big Period in Human Time."

LA Times Article PDF

List of contributing authors PDF

Press Release PDF




Dark Forces at Work  April 2008  

Ten years ago two teams discovered that the universe will expand forever at an ever faster rate, thanks to an unseen energy. The leader of one of the groups, Saul Perlmutter, expects that new observations will soon illuminate the universe's dark side. Read more by David Appell

Scientific American Q & A with Saul Perlmutter


Saul Perlmutter announced the Supernova Cosmology Project's evidence for a cosmological constant at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C., on January 8, 1998. On February 18 of that year, Gerson Goldhaber and Perlmutter discussed the SCP evidence at the UCLA conference on Dark Matter in Los Angeles, where Alexei Fillipenko announced similar results from the High-Z Supernova Search Team. What they had observed was the accelerating expansion of the universe, presumably caused by Einstein's cosmological constant (lambda). Initially a purely mathematical term in the equations of General Relativity — which Einstein later dropped — theorists by the end of the 20th century had come to regard the cosmological constant as a manifestation of the vacuum energy described by quantum mechanics.

Dark Energy's 10th Anniversary Part I, Announcing the accelerating universe

10th Anniversary Part II, Success breeds competition

10th Anniversary Part III, The aftermath: confirmation and exploration
by Paul Preuss


The proposed SuperNova/Acceleration Probe (SNAP) satellite inspired DOE and NASA's Joint Dark Energy Mission. It will find and measure thousands of Type Ia supernovae and will measure the distribution of matter in the universe through weak gravitational lensing. Read more




Expansion History of the Universe




Dark, Perhaps Forever  By Dennis Overbye, June 2008

Mario Livio tossed his car keys in the air. They rose ever more slowly, paused, shining, at the top of their arc, and then in accordance with everything our Galilean ape brains have ever learned to expect, crashed back down into his hand.

That was the whole problem, explained Dr. Livio, a theorist at the Space Telescope Science Institute here on the Johns Hopkins campus. A decade ago, astronomers discovered that what is true for your car keys is not true for the galaxies. Having been impelled apart by the force of the Big Bang, the galaxies, in defiance of cosmic gravity, are picking up speed on a dash toward eternity. If they were keys, they would be shooting for the ceiling. “That is how shocking this was,” Dr. Livio said. Read more shocking revelations here.

click for full graphic


'Saul Perlmutter of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California led the team examining a kind of exploding star known as a Type 1a supernova as standard candles — objects whose distance can be inferred from their apparent brightness to investigate the history and fate of the universe. They found, on the basis of a few dozen of these stars, that the more distant ones were dimmer than expected, meaning that they had been carried farther away by the cosmic expansion than expected, meaning that the universe was speeding up. The car keys were streaking for the ceiling...'

PDF of this article



George Smoot has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the nation’s highest honors for a scientist or engineer. He is one of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates inducted into the NAS, which was established in 1863 under President Lincoln for the “furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare.”




April, 2008

Dr. Smoot wrote an article for the 10th anniversary of dark matter that appeared in the Milano Newspaper "Il Corriere della Sera."











The God Particle - At the Heart of All Matter, by Joel Achenbach

National Geographic Magazine
, March 2008. Achenbach reports on the Large Hadron Collider's impending search for the evasive Higgs particle and other physical phenomena at the French facility. In summary, George Smoot adds, "...every day I go to work I'm making a bet that the universe is simple, symmetric, and aesthetically pleasing—a universe that we humans, with our limited perspective, will someday understand."




Contemplating Important Days in the History of the Universe (CNN)
January 1, 2008



2007 News


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