16 December 2013

Quantum Leaping

Many, many years ago I recall watching a Nova program on PBS about Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson first hearing the cosmic background radiation backing the Big Bang theory.

At first, they couldn't figure out where the noise was coming from. They ruled out military testing. And then, inside the horn of the big antenna, they found droppings from pigeons that were nesting there. The scientists tried to trap the birds and release them 30 miles away, but they kept flying back. Penzias says the team had no choice but to kill the pigeons. "It seemed like the only way out of our dilemma," he says.

The pigeons were gone, but the noise remained. And it was coming from every direction.

Not highway noise, not military testing, not pigeons...Why...IT MUST BE THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE!

Talk about quantum leaping.

Penzias and Wilson in 1978 won the Nobel Prize for physics for what has been called the most important scientific find of the 20th century.

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