Gary Hinshaw and the WMAP Science Team
University of British Columbia
2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics
For detailed maps of the early universe that greatly improved our knowledge of the evolution of the cosmos and the fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies.
After the initial COBE results came out, it was clear that a follow-up mission like WMAP was the next step needed to harvest the treasure contained in the CMB anisotropy. In 1994, I was extremely fortunate to be involved in the formation of the WMAP team with all of my fellow Breakthrough Prize winners, as well as all of the other talented scientists and engineers who contributed to WMAP’s success. I owe special gratitude to Chuck Bennett for teaching me so much about the CMB in the COBE days, and for bringing me on to the WMAP Team at its formation. I also hold a special place in my heart for the “W” in WMAP, Dave Wilkinson of Princeton University, who taught me so much about cosmology – and doing good work. I so wish Dave could be here to share this honor with us. WMAP was absolutely the best scientific experience anyone could hope for: the combination of a rich scientific fossil, and an amazing team that was able to “dust it off" and decipher it, has enriched my life immeasurably. Throughout this (sometimes arduous) journey, I am grateful for the love, support, and encouragement from my family, especially my wife, Diana.