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Things We’ve Never Seen: The James Webb Space Telescope Explores the Cosmos

Thursday, December 23, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EST

The powerful James Webb Space Telescope–the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope–promises insight into profound questions that have dogged philosophers and astronomers for millennia. What is the origin of the universe? How are stars and planets created? Is there life elsewhere in the universe? Brian Greene brings together four scientists who will use the Webb to investigate these very questions: John C. Mather, NASA’s lead scientist on the project and a Nobel Laureate; Natalie Batalha, NASA’s lead scientist on the Kepler Mission, which discovered the first rocky planets outside our solar system; Adam Riess, who earned a Nobel Prize for his revelations about the expansion rate of the universe; and Ewine van Dishoeck, a Kavli Laureate for her pioneering work in the field of astrochemistry.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, which is supported by the John Templeton Foundation.


Brian GreenePhysicist, Author

Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory. His books, The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, have collectively spent 65 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

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John MatherAstrophysicist, NASA
Nobel Laureate

Nobel Laureate John Mather’s research in cosmology as part of the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) team has been recognized as some of the most important work of the 20th century.

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Natalie BatalhaPhysicist

Natalie Batalha is a UC Presidential Chair, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Director of Astrobiology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She will lead the Early Release Science program for transiting exoplanets — a scientific community effort to acquire some of the first observations of exoplanets with the James Webb Space Telescope.

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Adam RiessPhysicist, Johns Hopkins
Nobel Laureate

Adam Riess is the Thomas J. Barber Professor in Space Studies at the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, a distinguished astronomer at the Space Telescope Science …

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Ewine van Dishoeckmolecular astrophysicist

Ewine van Dishoeck is Professor of molecular astrophysics at the Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands. She is co-editor of the Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and was president of the International Astronomical Union between 2018 and 2021.

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