Press Release

NASA Scientist Nominated for Wired Magazine’s Scientist of the Year

By SpaceRef Editor
March 10, 2004
Filed under ,

Dr. Charles L. Bennett from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Md will find out on March 15 whether he has won WIRED Magazine’s
Rave Award for scientist of the year. The award is a celebration of
innovation and is given to innovators who are “The People Changing People’s

“I am honored and surprised at being nominated, especially in the company
of such renown scientists,” said Dr. Bennett.

Other nominees in the category include such prestigious names as: Patrick
Brown, Michael Eisen, Harold Varmus Biology, Public Library of Science;
Boldizsar Janko Physics, University of Notre Dame; Craig Venter The Center
for the Advancement of Genomics; and Alessandro Vespignani Theoretical
Physics, Universite Paris-Sud

On March 15, 2004, Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson and Publisher Drew
Schutte will unveil the winners at the Rave Awards Gala at The Fillmore in
San Francisco.

Bennett is the Principal Investigator for NASA’s revolutionary mission, the
Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which took the most famous “baby
picture” of all; that of our very own universe. The image contains stunning
detail of the universe just after the big bang. Scientists captured the
afterglow of the big bang and revealed that the universe is 13.7 billion
years old and dominated by a mysterious dark energy. The confirmation of
the dark energy, which drives the universe to expand at an ever increasing
rate, was hailed by Science magazine as the 2003 Breakthrough of the Year.

“By measuring light that’s over 13 billion years old, the WMAP space
mission is, in WIRED words, ‘Changing your mind’ by revealing the
beginnings of the universe,” Dr. Bennett explained.

WMAP launched on June 30 aboard a Delta II rocket and is in its permanent
orbiting station of L2, some million miles away from Earth. WMAP was
produced in partnership between Princeton University, N.J. and Goddard.
Goddard and Princeton University produced the WMAP hardware and software.
In addition to Goddard and Princeton, science team members are located at
the University of Chicago, the University of California, Los Angeles, Brown
University, Providence, R.I., and the University of the British of
Columbia, Vancouver.

WMAP, an Explorer mission, is managed by the NASA Goddard Space Flight
Center for NASA’s Office of Space Science.

In his position as Principal Investigator, Bennett led the proposal effort
and was responsible for the mission design and development, ongoing mission
operations, data analysis, and production of the scientific results.

Prior to this, Bennett served as branch head of the Infrared Astrophysics
Branch in the space science directorate at NASA. Bennett also held the
title of Deputy Principal Investigator of the Differential Microwave
Radiometers (DMR) instrument and participated as a science team member on
the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE).

Bennett has been the recipient of numerous awards. For his work on COBE,
Bennett was awarded NASA’s highest scientific honor, the NASA Exceptional
Scientific Achievement Award. In 1999, Bennett was named a Fellow of the
American Physical Society and was presented NASA’s Leadership Award. In
2002, he was named the most Highly Cited Researcher in space science
worldwide by ISI, an information company. In 2003, he received the John C.
Lindsay Award for Space Science, and was honored as the 2003 Alumnus of the
Year by the Physics Department of the University of Maryland. He was
recently named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of

A native of New Brunswick, N.J. but raised in Bethesda, Md., Bennett
graduated from the University of Maryland in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree
in physics and astronomy. He received a Ph.D in physics from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, in 1984.

Bennett is the son of Maryland residents Lawrence and Devora Bennett.
Bennett and his wife, Renee Marlin-Bennett, reside in Bethesda with their
two sons.

More information on WMAP and the WIRED Rave awards is available on the
Internet at:

SpaceRef staff editor.