Dr. Charles L. Bennett Awarded the 2013 Jansky Lectureship
Chris Carilli and Tony Beasley
Dr. Charles L. Bennett
The 48th annual Jansky Lecture, titled “A Tour of the Universe,” will be given by Prof. Charles Bennett, Alumni Centennial Professor of Physics and Astronomy and a Johns Hopkins University Gilman Scholar.
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank will host Dr. Bennett Wednesday, January 22, at 7 p.m. in the Jansky Auditorium.
Prof. Bennett received his B.S. degree in Physics and Astronomy, cum laude with High Honors in Astronomy, from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1978. He received his Ph.D. in Physics at MIT in 1984 under Prof. Bernie Burke, working on large radio surveys with the 300 ft telescope in Green Bank, WV and follow-up “snalshot” observations at the VLA near Socorro, NM. He joined the scientific staff of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 1984 and later became the Infrared Astrophysics Branch Head, and then a Senior Scientist for Experimental Cosmology and a Goddard Senior Fellow. Dr. Bennett became a professor at the Homewood campus of the Johns Hopkins University in January 2005
For the last two decades, Dr. Bennett has led the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) mission. WMAP, launched June 2001, quantified the age, content, history, and other key properties of the universe with unprecedented accuracy and precision. This was recognized by Science magazine as the 2003 “Breakthrough of the Year.” The WMAP satellite ended its nine years of scientific observations in August 2010.
Previous to his work on WMAP, Dr. Bennett was the Deputy P.I. of the Differential Microwave Radiometers (DMR) instrument and a member of the Science Team of the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) mission. The scientific results from this work included the first detection of variations across the sky of the temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation.
Dr. Bennett is currently building the Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor (CLASS), a microwave background instrument to search for the B-modes from inflationary gravitational waves. CLASS will be sited near ALMA in Chile. Bennett has also been active in defining the WFIRST mission, and is member of the Euclid and the Subaru Prime Focus Spectrograph teams.
Dr. Bennett has received several awards and honors, including the 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize, 2010 Shaw Prize in Astronomy, the 2009 Comstock Prize in Physics, the 2006 Harvey Prize, and the 2005 Henry Draper Medal. He twice received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, once for COBE and once for WMAP. He also received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for WMAP. Dr. Bennett is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.