Robert Woodrow Wilson (born January 10, 1936) is an American astronomer who, along with Arno Allan Penzias, discovered cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) in 1964. The pair won the 1978 Nobel laureate in physics for their discovery.

Robert Woodrow Wilson
Robert Wilson (28215880301) (cropped).jpg
Wilson in 2016
Born (1936-01-10) January 10, 1936 (age 83)
ResidenceNew Jersey
NationalityUnited States
Alma materRice University
California Institute of Technology
Known forCosmic Microwave Background Radiation
AwardsHenry Draper Medal (1977)
Nobel Prize in Physics (1978)
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics

While working on a new type of antenna at Bell Labs in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, they found a source of noise in the atmosphere that they could not explain.[1] After removing all potential sources of noise, including pigeon droppings on the antenna, the noise was finally identified as CMB, which served as important corroboration of the Big Bang theory.

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Life and workEdit

Robert Woodrow Wilson was born on January 10, 1936, in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Lamar High School in River Oaks, in Houston,[2] and studied as an undergraduate at Rice University, also in Houston, where he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa society. He then earned a PhD in physics at California Institute of Technology.

Wilson and Penzias also won the Henry Draper Medal of the National Academy of Sciences in 1977.[3]

Wilson remained at Bell Laboratories until 1994, when he was named a senior scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[4]

Wilson has been a resident of Holmdel Township, New Jersey.[5]

Wilson married Elizabeth Rhoads Sawin[6] in 1958.[7]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Penzias, A.A.; Wilson, R.W. (1965). "A Measurement of Excess Antenna Temperature at 4080 Mc/s". Astrophysical Journal. 142: 419–421. Bibcode:1965ApJ...142..419P. doi:10.1086/148307.
  2. ^ "Distinguished HISD Alumni Archived 2012-02-25 at WebCite," Houston Independent School District
  3. ^ "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Nobel Lectures, Physics 1971-1980, Editor Stig Lundqvist, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1992. Autobiography. Accessed March 15, 2011. "We still live in the house in Holmdel which we bought when I first came to Bell Laboratories."
  6. ^ "Robert Woodrow Wilson - Biographical". www.nobelprize.org. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  7. ^ "Robert Woodrow Wilson". www.nndb.com. Retrieved 2016-06-07.

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