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Wilson, Robert Woodrow

radiation background cosmic radio

(1936– ) US physicist: co-discoverer of the cosmic microwave background radiation.

Wilson graduated at Rice University, Houston and California Institute of Technology. Thereafter he took up a post at the Bell Laboratories, Holmdel, NJ and became head of the radiophysics research department in 1976.

At Bell, Wilson collaborated with in experiments using a large radio telescope designed for communication with satellites. In 1964 they detected a radio noise background coming from all directions; it had an energy distribution corresponding to a black body at a thermal temperature of 3.5 K. The explanation given by and P J E Peebles (1935– ) was that the radiation is the residual radiation from the ‘Big Bang’ at the universe’s creation, which has been cooled to 3.5 K by the expansion of the universe. This cosmic background radiation had been predicted to exist by and R C Herman (1914–97) in 1948. Wilson and Penzias together won half the 1978 Nobel Prize for physics for their work.

Wilson, Thomas (1523–1581) - BIOGRAPHY, CRITICAL RECEPTION [next] [back] Wilson, Kenneth Geddes

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