Robert Woodrow Wilson

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For the accelerator physicist and founding director of Fermilab, see Robert R. Wilson.
For the American president, see Woodrow Wilson.
Robert Woodrow Wilson
Robert Wilson (28215880301) (cropped).jpg
Born (1936-01-10) January 10, 1936 (age 81)
Houston, Texas, USA
Residence New Jersey
Nationality United States
Alma mater Rice University
California Institute of Technology
Known for Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
Awards Henry Draper Medal (1977)
Nobel Prize in Physics (1978)
Scientific career
Fields Physics

Robert Woodrow Wilson (born January 10, 1936) is an American astronomer, 1978 Nobel laureate in physics, who with Arno Allan Penzias discovered in 1964 the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB). The award purse was also shared with a third scientist, Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa, for unrelated work.

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.

Life and work

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]

Notes

  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," Houston Independent School District
  3. ^ "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  4. ^ http://www.fofweb.com/History/MainPrintPage.asp?iPin=AS0290&DataType=AmericanHistory&WinType=Free
  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. 

References

  • "Distinguished HISD Alumni", Houston Independent School District, Houston, Texas, 2008.
  • Cite Video | BBC/WGBH BOSTON | NOVA #519 | A Whisper From Space | Copyright 1978 | Available With Permission | Consolidated Aircraft - Ronkonkoma, New York

External links

  • Robert Woodrow Wilson: Official Nobel page
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