EXPIRED: 01/22/10 – Andrew Lange, 52, was a physicist at California Institute of Technology and was part of an international team called BOOMERANG (short for Balloon Observations of Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation and Geophysics) who studied the cosmos.
Boomerang studied the remnants of the Big Bang showing that the universe is flat. In 1998, Boomerang used a telescope, carried over Antarctica by balloon for just under 2 weeks, to look for a thermal radiation left over from the embryonic universe – something they deemed the ‘cosmic microwave.’ The experiment showed the spatial geometry of the universe is flat and supported theories that it will expand forever and not collapse upon itself.
It was hailed as a great finding. Boomerang’s conclusions largely matched predictions that scientists have been on the right track all along and that the “inflation theory” — that the universe underwent a rapid expansion in a fraction of a nanosecond after its birth – is accurate.
In 2006, Lange became a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was appointed chairman of Caltech’s physics, mathematics and astronomy division in 2008.
But something wasn’t right. For some reason he took his life in a hotel.