Good Show October 5, 2006Posted by gordonwatts in science.
Nobel prizes were announced for physics — Mather and Smoot for COBE. The Nobel’s site has the tag line “for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation” — basically echo’s from the big-bang. The COBE satellite did a rough measurement as compared to WMAP — which is the image you see printed in lots of popular press. Basically, this work is at the root of our ignorance. It is one of the cornerstones showing that dark energy and dark matter must exist.
But I wanted to write a post not about the prize specifically — many others can do a much better job than I can. I want to write it because of NASA (I’ve complained about this before). Mather is still at NASA. COBE was funded by NASA. Guess what? The NASA funding for similar science experiments has been cut back — to make way for a manned mars mission among other priorities.
The hopeful cynic in me says that perhaps it will get some funding restored now that NASA is no longer allowed to investigate the earth (where they may discover global warming is actually, gasp, real!).