Johns Hopkins astrophysicist and his team win Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Baltimore Sun:

Johns Hopkins University astrophysicist Charles L. Bennett was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics on Sunday for his research on the universe’s origin and expansion.

Bennett led a team of researchers that collaborated with NASA to build and launch NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe space telescope. Over more than a decade, they mapped the universe’s early moments and advanced scientific understanding about the makeup of the universe and how it has expanded over time.

“We do this because of curiosity,” Bennett said. “It’s fun to do, it’s fun to see the results coming out. Having it recognized is the icing on the cake.”

The prize was one of seven announced during a televised awards ceremony in California Sunday evening. The 27-member team will share $3 million.

The Breakthrough Prizes, now in their sixth years recognize advances in physics, life sciences and mathematics. The awards were founded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, a graduate of the University of Maryland; venture capital investors Yuri and Julia Milner; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, and Anne Wojcicki, CEO of the personal genomics company 23andMe.

“The Breakthrough Prize was created to celebrate the achievements of scientists, physicists, and mathematicians, whose genius help us understand our world, and whose advances shape our future,” said Zuckerberg, in a statement. “The world needs their inspiration, and their reminder that even though it doesn’t always feel that way, we are making steady progress toward building a better future for everyone.

Bennett and his team launched their project with NASA in 2001 with the goal of answering basic questions about the universe’s composition.

“It may seem like there’s no way us tiny humans on the planet could answer questions about the universe as a whole,” Bennett said.

Among the group’s discoveries was that less than 5 percent of the universe is atoms, the basic units that comprise everything on earth. The group also made important discoveries about dark matter and dark energy in the universe.

The research became the basis for what is known as the “standard model” of cosmology, the study of the universe’s origin and evolution. read more

22 Comments on Johns Hopkins astrophysicist and his team win Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

  1. This is all bullshit…..I did this same study beforehand in 1983 after watching the movie Alien and eating a big dose of magic mushrooms….here is my theorem…..We are nothing more then a molecule on the finger of a great giant with myopia….




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  2. But they still can’t answer why they need an escort to the parking lot because of the “dark forces” of Baltimore.




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  3. Zuckerburg want’s contribution back. He agreed to a large payment to the endeavor only if scientists could prove there was no god.




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  4. When some guys at either AT&T or Bell Labs (not much difference back then) first detected the cosmic background microwave radiation they thought something was wrong with their equipment.

    This was quite a while back.




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  5. “We can describe the Universe one micro-milli-nano-second AFTER the Big Bang, but we are absolutely ignorant of the state of the Universe one micro-milli-nano-second BEFORE the Big Bang.”

    The “Moment of Creation” (and what precedes that moment) is beyond all science.
    And that’s just a plain fact.

    izlamo delenda est …




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  6. @Ernest T Bass:”i smoked weed with johnny hopkins”

    Bull. I went to school with Johnny Hopkins and he didn’t smoke weed.




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  7. One of the greatest things about being alive today is all the advanced mathematical computations that can be run on supercomputers, allowing the human mind to be free to speculate and use the computers to divine the truth about their speculations.
    I am also very glad that the Universe reluctantly gives up one answer and drops ten more questions into your lap.
    We will never know all about the Universe because we are in it.
    We are like gas molecules inside a container. We may come to be experts on the inside of our container, but we are doomed to forever be ignorant of the color of the labeling on the outside of the container.
    This is a good thing.
    The absence of humbling mystery breeds hubris.
    We need to remember we are the clay, not the potter.




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  8. @Tim – You are making assumptions about the nature of time for which there is no evidence. It is entirely possible that the Creator created time along with everything else, and the concept of anything preceding the Creation is null.




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  9. @Uncle Al

    some Christian Scientists (not the religion) are actually beginning to speculate on 2 creation events one Bible verse apart (Genesis 1: 1 and Genesis 1: 2) with the first answering the questions we have about dinosaurs and Satan’s dominion (and fall) over the earth and the second being the Garden of Eden scenario.

    I’m still contemplating the issue as there is some merit to both arguments and ex-biblical literature is fascinating to read.

    It explains the “gap” theory very well and gives us background on the other (mythology and legends) gods and powers that may exist.

    Sadly, the average Christian and Bible reader, who has not prepared themselves for such an exploration goes rather nutty because it takes preparation and an open mind to realize this doesn’t change or threaten the Bible and God’s words at all.

    I will give you all one name to Google if you are interested:
    Dr. Michael Heiser




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  10. A lot of words and no meat. Horrible reporting.

    What is the breakthrough? I didn’t see one word describing a breakthrough.

    “Over more than a decade, they mapped the universe’s early moments and advanced scientific understanding about the makeup of the universe and how it has expanded over time.”

    Sure, but what made those “early moments” happen? Not one word on how everything came from nothing. Takes a tremendous amount of faith to believe all of the universe started itself from absolute nothingness without cause/effect in play. This is a question they can’t answer and don’t want asked.

    “With WMAP we answered a lot of age-old questions,” Bennett said. “That story is not over.” Duh.

    What are the questions and what are these answers? Man, I’m starting to hate this reporter!

    “The group is building and stationing four telescopes in Northern Chile to observe very faint microwave signals from across the universe to better understand what happened when the universe was formed.”

    The Cosmic Microwave Background Experiment was done a long time ago. The scientist in charge of it said something along the lines of: “Once we filtered all the known noise out and were left with the ripples directly left over from the start of the universe – it was like looking at the face of God.” Not verbatim, but close.

    “Bennett said he is amazed at how much he and other researchers have been able to learn.”

    WHAT IS IT?! What the hell did you learn?! I’m reminded of O’s campaign of Hope and Change. You fill in what you think it means for yourself and it’s AWESOME SAUCE!

    Science is NOT anti-God. Just what people project onto it can be because they start from the point of: “There can’t be a God, so….” and they end up breaking the rules of science to believe anything but there being the most simple and reasonable answer – God made it all.

    Keep to basic truths without assuming something physics can’t allow to happen (Everything from nothing – cause and effect anyone? + the 2nd law of thermodynamics – things got more complicated instead of breaking down? ha! No.) and it will lead you to God.

    It takes a lot more faith to believe it all came from nothing with no way to explain that and that your earliest ancestor was rain falling on rocks for billions of years and finally creating life from inanimate objects. Why isn’t that still happening if that’s possible? It isn’t and never will. Only life begets life and science keeps proving that.

    I love science. And I love God. No conflict at all. His works are there for all to see and learn, but don’t be blinded by atheism while you’re at it.

    Not impressed by the writer of this article at all. No meat. Just hype.

    I’m out.




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  11. Dinosaurs were called dragons back in the day.

    The word dinosaur was only coined in the 1800s. People throughout history have recorded their encounters with them. From Marco Polo seeing dragons (dinos!) pulling royalty around in China and Marco seeing where the dragons were kept and fed, St George defeating one in England and being killed in the next battle, the ibis’ of Egypt preying on small pterodactyl-like creatures from Arabia made them revered heros of Egypt, dinos have been engraved on stone walls all over the world throughout history – showing people fighting, killing, and being killed by them.

    And then there is the Bible referring to and describing them. BTW the unicorn of the Bible was a dino – most likely a ceratop. Look how it is described as fierce, un-tamable and useless for domestic use like plowing.




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