Wilson and Penzias, US astrophysicists

Wilson and Penzias, US astrophysicists

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Credit: PHYSICS TODAY COLLECTION/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Penzias and Wilson (left), US astrophysicists, examining a radio antenna. From 1963-4, when using a radio antenna at Bell Laboratories, USA, they failed to eliminate a persistent background noise, despite examining the antenna and removing pigeon dung. It was later realised that the noise was the cosmic background radiation, predicted in 1948 by Gamow and Herman, and evidence for the 'big bang' theory of the origin of the universe. This won Arno Allan Penzias (born 1933) and Robert Woodrow Wilson (born 1936) the 1978 Physics Nobel Prize.

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