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Source: Dean Zollman, 785-532-1619,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


MANHATTAN -- The principal investigator of major mapping project of the universe will deliver a James N. Neff Lecture in Physics at Kansas State University.

Charles Bennett, a professor of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, will present "What's Up? A Tour of the Universe" at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, in the K-State Alumni Center's Ballroom. The lecture, presented by the K-State department of physics, is free and open to the public.

Bennett is the principal investigator of NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe space mission, which is continuing to quantify, with accuracy and precision, key properties of the universe, including its age, content and history. His lecture will look at the modern view of the universe, what we think we know about it and how we know it, as well as a description of current research frontiers.

The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe was launched in June 2001, with its first scientific results released in February 2003.

Bennett served as a senior scientist for experimental cosmology, a Goddard Senior Fellow and head of the infrared astrophysics branch at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., before joining Johns Hopkins in 2005.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. He also has received the 2006 Harvey Prize, the 2005 Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences and the John C. Lindsay Award from NASA. In addition, he has received NASA's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal twice and the Outstanding Leadership Medal. He also is a co-recipient of the 2006 Gruber Cosmology Prize.

The James R. Neff Lectureship in Physics is sponsored by the James R. Neff Lecture Endowment. Neff was an internationally recognized orthopedic surgeon and professor of at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha who received his undergraduate degree from K-State in 1962. He established the lectureship in 1995 to perpetuate and honor his parents, Everett and Florine Neff, and his sister, Janice K. Neff Standish; and also to express his gratitude for the opportunities and education he received at K-State. Neff died in 2005. More information on the lectureship is available at: