Plenary Speakers

John Mather

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, USA
Nobel Prize in Physics 2006

The James Webb Space Telescope
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), planned for launch in October 2018, utilizes high performance imaging optics to see beyond what the great Hubble Space Telescope can see, farther away and farther back in time.   It will be the workhorse telescope for a generation of space astronomers, opening the infrared (0.6-28 µm) window with a 6.6 m aperture cold telescope. To test it end-to-end, we have developed remarkable laser interferometer technologies, with computer-generated holograms to test the primary mirror, and it must all be done cold and in a vacuum tank.  I will outline the mission design, the scientific objectives, and the current status.

John Mather is a Senior Astrophysicist and is the Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) where his research centers on infrared astronomy and cosmology.  He led proposal efforts for the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), which ultimately enabled the COBE team to show that the cosmic microwave background radiation has a blackbody spectrum within 50 parts per million, confirming the expanding universe model (the Big Bang Theory) and initiating the study of cosmology as a precision science. The COBE team also first mapped the hot and cold spots in the background radiation (anisotropy), now attributed to quantum fluctuations in an inflationary period in the first 10-36 sec of the universe; Stephen Hawking called their discovery “the most important scientific discovery of the century, if not of all time.”


Shree Nayar

Columbia University, USA

Shree K. Nayar is the T. C. Chang Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. He heads the Columbia Vision Laboratory (CAVE), which develops advanced computer vision systems. His research is focused on three areas - the creation of novel cameras that provide new forms of visual information, the design of physics based models for vision and graphics, and the development of algorithms for understanding scenes from images. His work is motivated by applications in the fields of digital imaging, computer graphics, robotics and human-computer interfaces.