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Losing the Nobel Prize: A Cosmic Memoir

Brian Keating and Dean Cyrus C. Taylor at Keating’s book signing at the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center.

What would it have been like to be an eyewitness to the Big Bang? In 2014, astronomers wielding BICEP2, the most powerful telescope of its kind ever made, thought they’d glimpsed the spark that ignited the Big Bang. Millions around the world tuned in to the announcement, and Nobel whispers began to spread. But had these cosmologists truly read the cosmic prologue had they been deceived by a galactic mirage? In Losing the Nobel Prize, cosmologist Brian Keating – who first conceived of the BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) experiments – tells the inside story of BICEP2’s detection and the ensuing scientific drama. Along the way, Keating provocatively argues that the Nobel Prize actually hampers scientific progress by encouraging speed and competition while punishing inclusivity, collaboration, and bold innovation. To build on BICEP2’s efforts to reveal the cosmos’ ultimate secrets – indeed, to advance science itself – the Nobel Prize must be radically reformed. Professor Brian G. Keating, Ph.D. (CAS, 1993) gave a public talk at the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center on the campus of CWRU, kicking off Homecoming weekend 2018, (10 days after the 2018 Nobel Prize announcement) about the inside story of a quest to unlock one of cosmology’s biggest mysteries.

Professor Brian Keating is a cosmologist at the University of California San Diego. An author of 100+ scientific publications and two U.S. Patents, Keating received his B.S. from Case Western Reserve University in 1993 and his Ph.D. from Brown University in 2000. Later, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford and Caltech, and in 2007 he received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for inventing the BICEP telescope. Keating was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2016 and is Principal Investigator of the Simons Observatory collaboration in Chile. He is a commercial pilot with multi-engine, instrument ratings and is a Trustee of the San Diego Air & Space Museum.  Dr. Keating was a brother of Phi Kappa Theta while at CWRU and majored in physics.

This fall, Dr. Keating made a generous gift to the college that will establish the Brian G. Keating, Ph.D. Class of 1993 Endowed Scholarship Fund in Support of Undergraduates Pursuing Physics.


Make a donation in support of scholarships

Scholarships are the difference maker for many students when determining where to attend college. In 2017, CWRU committed to meeting students’ full need when providing financial aid packages. Your donation in support of scholarships makes a direct impact on the lives of our students every day. 

There are 3 ways to give:

Shared Scholarship Fund
Any amount can be given to the Shared Scholarship Fund. Donations collectively provide tuition relief for incoming students the following academic year. To make a gift online visit: artsci.case.edu/casgiving. Write ‘CAS Shared Scholarship Fund’ in the special instructions text-box in order to support students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Partial & Full Term Scholarships
Make an immediate impact with a named commitment from $25,000-$200,000 that will cover part or all of an undergraduate student’s tuition for four years. There are many ways to make a planned gift including, by bequest, IRA Rollover, charitable gift annuity, charitable remainder unitrust, charitable remainder annuity trust, charitable lead trust and more. To learn more about your planned giving options, such as the potential tax benefits or the opportunities to support a cause about which you are passionate, contact Elizabeth Klein, Director of National Giving | 216.368.5764 | Elizabeth.Klein2@case.edu.

Endowed Scholarship Fund
A gift of $1,000,000 or more permanently endows a scholarship fund that will support one student in your name per year in perpetuity. There are many ways to make a planned gift including, by bequest, IRA Rollover, charitable gift annuity, charitable remainder unitrust, charitable remainder annuity trust, charitable lead trust and more. To learn more about your planned giving options, such as the potential tax benefits or the opportunities to support a cause about which you are passionate, contact Elizabeth Klein, Director of National Giving | 216.368.5764 | Elizabeth.Klein2@case.edu.

Page last modified: November 14, 2018