John E. Carlstrom
John Carlstrom studies the origin and evolution of the universe from the very bottom of the Earth. His quest to make detailed measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation—the 14-billion-year-old light from the Big Bang—has driven him to work at the coldest and driest desert on the planet, the high Antarctic plateau, where he is currently leading the 10-meter South Pole Telescope project at the National Science Foundation’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Research Station. The telescope, the largest ever deployed in Antarctica, takes measurements of the cosmic microwave background that will help explain how the universe has changed as it ages, how it works as a whole and what it will look like in the future.
Carlstrom is the Subramanyan Chandrasekhar Professor of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Physics at the University of Chicago, and deputy director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, he received his Ph.D. in physics from UC Berkeley in 1988, and has since received several awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 1998.