Breakthrough Prize 2018

Professor Edward L. "Ned" Wright is part of a 27-member WMAP team which has been awarded the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

This prize recognizes major insights into the deepest questions of the universe. The $3 million physics prize will be shared among the entire 27-member WMAP experimental team.

More about the Breakthrough Prize can be found at this link: read more.

Professor Wright received his AB and PhD degrees from Harvard University, and was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows. After teaching in the MIT Physics Department, Professor Wright has been at UCLA since 1981.

Prof. Wright's interests include infrared astronomy and cosmology. He is the PI on the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) which launched on 14 Dec 2009, and finished its first coverage of the whole sky on 17 Jul 2010. He worked on the COsmic Background Explorer (COBE) starting in 1978, and is still using COBE data to study the Cosmic Infrared Background. In 1992 he received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for his work on the Cosmic Background Explorer. The COBE team received the Gruber Prize in Cosmology in 2006. Prof. Wright was an Interdisciplinary Scientist on the Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly SIRTF) Science Working Group. He has worked on the SIRTF project since 1976. Prof. Wright has studied fractal dust grains which are able to absorb and emit efficiently at millimeter wavelengths, and thus may be an important factor in studies of the cosmic microwave background. From 1994-1998, he has served as a Science Editor of The Astrophysical Journal. In 1995 he was named the CSEOL Distinguished Scientist of the Year.

Prof. Wright is also working on the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). WMAP is a mission to follow-up the COBE discovery of fluctuations in the early Universe. It has observed the structure of the Universe 380,000 years after the Big Bang with better angular resolution than the COBE mission, and thus was able to detect the seeds of present day superclusters of galaxies. WMAP was launched on 30 June 2001 and released its first year of data on 11 Feb 2003.