I received an unusual email from, of all people, the Nobel Prize website editor! He was notifying me that the Nobel Prize folks have started a new series of videos where people get a chance to ask questions of Nobel laureates, who will then answer them on YouTube. Pretty cool, and something I heartily approve of. I love it when people get more contact with scientists, especially ones who are doing research that qualifies them for the Nobel!
They started the series off with astronomer John Mather, the Principal Investigator for the James Webb Space Telescope, who won the prize for his work with COBE, the Cosmic Background Explorer. I worked on that project very briefly, and over the next few years had the pleasure of working with John, who is just about as nice as he can be.
Here's an example of one of the questions -- what happened before the Big Bang -- with John's answer:
There are quite a few more, too. If you have an account on YouTube, you can subscribe to the Nobel channel and find out when they will do the next laureate Q&A, too. Very cool.