Meeting Information

Cosmology and the Cosmic Microwave Background

August 4, 2014
American Center for Physics
College Park, MD

Charles L. BennettDate: Monday, August 4, 2014 (Please Note: Day and Date)

Speaker: Dr. Charles L. Bennett, The Johns Hopkins University

Topic: Cosmology and the Cosmic Microwave Background

Time and Location: 1:00 PM, with Q&A to follow; in a 1st floor conference room at the American Center for Physics (, 1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD – off River Rd., between Kenilworth Ave. and Paint Branch Parkway.

Abstract: Studies of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) have led to major advances in cosmology. In this talk I will summarize recent CMB results and their implications for cosmology. I will compare and contrast select WMAP and Planck cosmological results. I will also discuss some other cosmological measurements, both past and future, that do not involve the CMB. I will focus on how these measurements help to test cosmological models and narrow the range of their associated parameters. Specific topics will include constraints on the Hubble constant and observations to constrain inflation models.

Biography: Charles L. Bennett is the Alumni Centennial Professor of Physics and Astronomy and a Johns Hopkins University Gilman Scholar. His major field of research is in experimental cosmology. In particular, he has contributed to the establishment of a standard model of cosmology, and is currently engaged in testing and extending that model.

Dr. Bennett currently leads the Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor (CLASS) project. He previously led the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) mission. WMAP was competitively selected in 1996 as a NASA Explorer mission, launched June 2001, and its first scientific results were issued in February 2003. WMAP quantified the age, content, history, and other key properties of the Universe with unprecedented accuracy and precision. This was recognized by Science magazine as the 2003 "Breakthrough of the Year." The WMAP satellite ended its nine years of scientific observations in August 2010.

Previous to his work on WMAP, Dr. Bennett was the Deputy P.I. of the Differential Microwave Radiometers (DMR) instrument and a member of the Science Team of the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) mission. The scientific results from this work included the first detection of variations across the sky of the temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation.

Dr. Bennett has received several awards and honors, including the 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize, the 2010 Shaw Prize in Astronomy, the 2009 Comstock Prize in Physics, the 2006 Harvey Prize, and the 2005 Henry Draper Medal. He twice received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, once for COBE and once for WMAP. He also received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for WMAP.

Dr. Bennett received his Ph.D. in Physics from MIT in 1984 and his B.S. degree in Physics and Astronomy, cum laude with High Honors in Astronomy, from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1978. He was also a summer trainee Fellow of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism from 1976 to 1978. He joined the scientific staff of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in 1984 and later became the Infrared Astrophysics Branch Head, and then a Senior Scientist for Experimental Cosmology and a Goddard Senior Fellow. Dr. Bennett became a professor at the Homewood campus of The Johns Hopkins University in January 2005. Bennett is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS).