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Friday, Oct. 7, 2011

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Jeff Dillon, Community Relations
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SWC professor’s observations contributed
to Nobel Prize-winning work

CHULA VISTA – A Southwestern College astronomy professor played a role in the research that contributed to this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics.

What Grant Miller did was use Mount Laguna Observatory east of San Diego to collect data on relatively nearby supernovas which Nobel co-recipient Saul Perlmutter’s team used to calibrate its observations of stars which were exploding in far more distant parts of the universe. The data helped prove that the expansion of the universe is speeding up.

Miller made his observations in 1999 and 2000. He was credited as a co-author on some of Perlmutter’s resulting papers.

“My contribution to the overall effort was small, but the fact that the project itself turned out to be so very significant is very rewarding,” Miller said.

The work highlights how many of the college’s instructors have active roles off-campus and have practical experience to bring into the classroom, said Miller, who has taught at Southwestern College since 1993 and is director of the college’s planetarium.

About Southwestern College

Accredited since 1964, Southwestern College is the only public institution of higher education in southern San Diego County, serving approximately 400,000 residents of communities including Bonita, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, Nestor, Otay Mesa, Palm City, San Ysidro, Sunnyside and Coronado. The College District offers more than 300 associate degree and certificate options. For more information, visit www.swccd.edu.