The late Hubert Reeves repeatedly stated that at the beginning of his scientific studies in the 1950s and a few years after his doctorate in nuclear astrophysics, the world scientific community was rather skeptical about what we now call the theory of the Big Bang, proposed and developed by the Belgian Georges Lemaître, then by the Russian physicist George GamowGeorge Gamow and his associates.
The majority of cosmologists stood behind Fred Hoyle, who in 1948, together with Hermann Bondi and Thomas Gold, proposed the now no longer valid stationary cosmological model, a model that negated the Big Bang theory of Lemaître and Gamow.
Everything changed in 1965 when Arno Allan Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson “accidentally” discovered the now famous fossil radiation, also called cosmic microwave background waves.
Unfortunately Penzias has just passed away…
The two men actually worked as engineers for the famous Bell Telephone Laboratories or AT&T Bell Laboratories – better known as Bell Labs or Les Bell Labs and now called Nokia Bell Labs. They were dealing with satellite telecommunications problems and had to use a radio antenna, which has now become history. Not wanting to know where the seemingly mysterious background noise in the antenna used came from, Penzias and Wilson discovered that it was actually a mysterious radio radiation of cosmic origin.
The From the Big Bang to the Living website has information about fossil radiation, such as this video from a documentary available on DVD. © ECP Group .© Dubigbangauvivant
Princeton, a mecca of relativistic physics and cosmology
By chance, they were also able to quickly talk about it with a group of theorists at Princeton University, including James Peebles and around Robert Dicke, who was working in the 1950s to 1960s after work in atomic physics and quantum optics (his MQ course remains notable) had been with experimental work began to test the general theory of relativity. Dicke understood that they had just been outpaced in their own research into the fossil radiation of the Big Bang, which Gamow and especially his collaborator Ralph Alpher had predicted.
A background radiation that behaves like so-called black body radiation and whose temperature has been constantly cooled by the expansion of space since the Big Bang was in fact a specific prediction of the theory of Lemaître and Gamow and will increasingly contradict the old cosmological model without Big Bang from 1965.
For this discovery, Penzias and Wilson shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1978. There are many videos/interviews/documentaries about this whole story and we are only mentioning some of them.
Futura had the opportunity to obtain several explanations on fossil radiation with the Planck mission Planck mission, accompanied by Laurence Perotto and the late Cécile Renault.
We can also read the 1965 paper by Princeton researchers before that of Penzias and Wilson, which is also available afterwards and published in the Astrophysical Journal, and that is why we give the presentation:
“Measurements of the effective zenith noise temperature of the 20-foot horn reflector antenna (Crawford, Hogg and Hunt 1961) at the Crawford Hill Laboratory, Holmdel, New Jersey, at 4080 Mc/s gave a value about 3.5 K higher than expected.” This excess temperature is, in the context of our observations, isotropic, non-polarized and free of seasonal fluctuations (July 1964 – April 1965). A possible explanation for the observed excessive noise temperature is provided by Dicke, Peebles, Roll, and Wilkinson (1965) in a letter accompanying this issue.
Embark on a cosmic journey and listen to how Bell Labs researchers Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation, which provided the first experimental evidence for the Big Bang theory of life. Origin of the universe. They used the famous horn antenna to collect data. To get a reasonably accurate French translation, click on the white rectangle at the bottom right. English subtitles should then appear. Then click on the nut to the right of the rectangle, then click on “Subtitles” and finally “Auto-translate”. Select “French”.© Nokia Bell Labs
A Jewish child saved from the Holocaust
About Arno Penzias himself: He was born on April 26, 1933 in Munich, Germany, into a family of Jewish origin (his grandparents had come to Munich from Poland and were among the leaders of the Reichenbachstrasse synagogue). He and his parents will escape the Nazis, especially he and his brother, who were among the Jewish children evacuated to Britain in 1939 as part of the Kindertransport rescue operation. Some time later, in 1940, he and his family found themselves in the Garment District of New York in the United States.
When he became a citizen of the United States, Arno Penzias began studying chemistry, but after serving as a radar officer in the American army for two years, he returned to civilian life and got a job as a research scientist at the Radiation Laboratory of Columbia UniversityColumbia , who was working intensively on microwave physics at the time. He worked there under the direction of the later Nobel Prize winner in physics Charles Townes, known for his work on laser lasers and maser masers, and ultimately received a doctorate in physics in 1962.
The rest is history…
CUNY TV Digital Series presents the first season of “CUNY Laureates,” a documentary web series chronicling the lives and achievements of thirteen City University of New York graduates who went on to become Nobel Prize winners. The first episode of the series, “Arno Penzias – The Sound of Creation”, tells the story of Nobel Prize winner Arno Penzias and the accidental discovery of cosmic background radiation (CBR) in 1965. For a sufficiently faithful French translation, click on the White rectangle at bottom right. English subtitles should then appear. Then click on the nut to the right of the rectangle, then click on “Subtitles” and finally “Auto-translate”. Select “French”. ©CUNY TV Digital Series