Smoot , George Fitzgerald III
(1945) American astrophysicist
Born at Yukon in Florida, Smoot was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he took his PhD in physics in 1970. He moved to the University of California, Berkeley, in 1971 as a research physicist and in 1974 was appointed team leader for the differential microwave radiometers on board the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite (COBE).
In 1965 Penzias and Wilson had discovered the cosmic background radiation. Initially it appeared to be perfectly isotropic, exactly the same whatever part of the universe it came from. Theorists found it difficult to account for such uniformity, and experimentalists began to wonder if it really was as uniform as it appeared.
The first disproof of isotropy came in 1977 from observations taken on board a high-flying U2 plane. The dipole anisotropy, as it was called, was small and was connected with the position of the Milky Way. Clearly further work was called for. After a number of delays, COBE was launched in 1989. Three instruments were carried. The differential microwave radiometer would measure differences in radiation from two points in the sky and could pick out differences between them of 1 part in 100,000. Also, a photometer measured the absolute brightness of the sky and searched for diffuse infrared radiation from the early universe. Finally, an interferometer measured the spectrum of the background radiation from 1 centimeter to 100 micrometers.
As the results emerged Smoot saw within the assumed uniformity ‘islands of structure’. A year was spent checking the reliability of the data – prizes were offered to anyone on the team who could identify a significant flaw. Finally the material was checked against a list of all the systematic errors ever noted during the years of preparation. After four papers describing the initial results had been revised more than a hundred times, Smoot was ready to go public.
The results seemed to show that there were bright spots in the universe, 30 millionths of a degree warmer than the average temperature. This was precisely the result predicted by the inflationary model of Alan Guth. It might also be possible, Smoot considered, to find in the ripples in the radiation the galactic clusters that populate the universe. Smoot has published a valuable popular account of the COBE mission in his Wrinkles in Time (1993).

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • George Fitzgerald Smoot III — George Smoot am 3. Oktober 2006 im Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory feiert den Gewinn des Nobelpreises. George Fitzgerald Smoot III (* 20. Februar 1945 in Yukon, Florida) ist ein US amerikanischer Astrophysiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Fitzgerald Smoot — George Smoot am 3. Oktober 2006 im Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory feiert den Gewinn des Nobelpreises. George Fitzgerald Smoot III (* 20. Februar 1945 in Yukon, Florida) ist ein US amerikanischer Astrophysiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Fitzgerald Smoot — III George Smoot en 2009 Naissance 20 février 1945 Yukon, Floride (États Unis) Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Smoot, George F. — ▪ American physicist in full  George Fitzgerald Smoot III  born Feb. 20, 1945, Yukon, Fla., U.S.    American physicist, who was corecipient, with John C. Mather (Mather, John C.), of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2006 for discoveries supporting… …   Universalium

  • George Smoot — am 3. Oktober 2006 im Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory feiert den Gewinn des Nobelpreises. George Fitzgerald Smoot III (* 20. Februar 1945 in Yukon, Florida) ist ein US amerikanischer Astrophysiker. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George F. Smoot — George Smoot auf der POVO Konferenz, Venlo, Niederlande George Smoot feiert d …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George F. Smoot — el 3 de octubre de 2006 celebrando la concesión del Premio Nobel de Física. George Fitzgerald Smoot III (Yukon, 1945) es un físico y astrónomo estadounidense. Doctor en Física por el MIT y Profesor de Física en la Universidad de Berkeley en… …   Wikipedia Español

  • George Smoot — Infobox Scientist name = George Smoot imagesize = 200px caption = Smoot celebrating his Nobel Prize at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 3 October 2006 birth date = birth date and age|1945|2|20 birth place = Yukon, Florida, U.S. residence =… …   Wikipedia

  • Licht-Äther — Einige Äthervorstellungen implizieren einen jahreszeitlich wechselnden Ätherwind Der Äther (griech. αἰθήρ [aithär] für der (blaue) Himmel) ist eine Substanz, die im ausgehenden 17. Jahrhundert als Medium für die Ausbreitung von Licht postuliert… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lichtäther — Einige Äthervorstellungen implizieren einen jahreszeitlich wechselnden Ätherwind Der Äther (griech. αἰθήρ [aithär] für der (blaue) Himmel) ist eine Substanz, die im ausgehenden 17. Jahrhundert als Medium für die Ausbreitung von Licht postuliert… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”