Americans John C. Mather and George F. Smoot have won the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics for work that helped cement the big-bang theory of the universe. Mather, 60, works at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Smoot, 61, works at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Their work was based on measurements done with the help of the NASA-launched COBE satellite in 1989. They were able to observe the universe in its early stages about 380,000 years after it was born. Ripples in the light they detected also helped demonstrate how galaxies came together over time.
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