Dr. John C Mather’s History of the Universe in a Nutshell: From the Big Bang to Life and the End of Time


Scientists have been studying the beginnings of humankind, Earth, and all other bodies within space because an understanding of the past can help predict the future. In 2006, Dr. John C. Mather – the Nobel laureate – improved our understanding of the Big Bang Theory and, therefore, our knowledge of us and the universe. Following his success as a physicist in October 2011, he came to Lenox Laser’s 30th anniversary as a keynote speaker. His speech – titled “History of the Universe in a Nutshell: From the Big Bang to Life and the End of Time” – outlined not only his work with understanding the beginning of life but also predictions for the end.

In the speech, Dr. Mather discussed how scientists for the past 100 years have been debating and discussing the origins of the universe, all-around one fact – the ever expansion of space. Edwin Hubble, in 1929, published his finding of the universe growing. There was, however, still the question of how this could be. At Bell Labs in 1965, they predicted that the universe was bouncing from cold to hot to facilitate the growth of new stars, planets, and more. An ever-expanding universe, as theorized by Dr. Mather, could lead to the merging of Earth and our Sun within a billion years’ time – meaning humans could no longer inhabit the burning worlds. This led to the theory that is accepted today by relevant scientists – the Big Bang Theory – and to Dr. Mather’s work and Nobel Prize.

To test the validity of the Big Bang Theory, Dr. Mather set out to make a satellite that would measure cosmic heat and light in the oldest galaxies. A comparison to the predictions as a result of the Big Bang matched with the measurements found by Dr. Mather and his team. Even Stephen Hawking proclaimed it as one of the most important discoveries of the century, if not all time. With Hawking’s endorsement and the results of their discovery, Dr. Mather and colleges won the Nobel Prize and led the path for more scientists to explore the Big Bang further.

Another advancement constructed by Dr. Mather and his team is the James Webb telescope. His reason for building a massive telescope is to see the formation of new galaxies to support the Big Bang Theory further. Dr. Mather’s team plans on making it be close to Earth, block out the Sun’s rays, and to be big enough to see far out enough to see the beginnings of new stars. At the time of Dr. Mather’s speech it is theorized that it would be completed in 2018; it was completed and fully assembled for the first time in August 2019.

We at Lenox Laser were privileged to have Dr. Mather give the speech on the Big Bang and the end of time. You can see Dr. Mather’s full lecture at the International Institute of Optics website and check out our blog about the James Webb telescope as well as the NASA website.