Jun 21, 2012
Astronomer wins Gruber Cosmology Prize
Edward L. (Ned) Wright
, a professor of physics and astronomy and principal investigator of NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
(WISE) mission, today was named a recipient of the 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize, along with other scientists who made major contributions to the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). Wright and his colleagues will be honored in Beijing on Aug. 21 for their observations and analyses that have provided rigorous measurements of the age, content, geometry and origin of the universe.
Among the WMAP unprecedented findings are that the universe is within 1 percent of 13.75 billion years old, and consists of 22.7 percent dark matter, 72.8 percent dark energy, and only 4.6 percent ordinary matter. WMAP’s findings are so precise that WMAP’s version of the universe is now commonly known as the "Standard Cosmological Model."
The Gruber Foundation presents the 2012 Cosmology Prize to the WMAP team for its "exquisite measurements of anisotropies in the relic radiation from the Big Bang — the Cosmic Microwave Background. These measurements have helped to secure rigorous constraints on the origin, content, age and geometry of the Universe, transforming our current paradigm of structure formation from appealing scenario into precise science."
Last May, Wright was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his "distinguished and continuing achievements in original research." In 2007, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of "preeminent contributions" to his discipline and to "society at large."
A new atlas and catalog of the entire infrared sky with more than a half-billion stars, galaxies and other objects captured by WISE was unveiled by NASA in March.
Wright, who holds the UCLA’s David Saxon Presidential Chair in Physics, is among the most-cited researchers in the field of cosmic microwave background radiation.