Robert Woodrow Wilson

Robert Woodrow Wilson

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Encyclopedia
For the American President, see Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

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Robert Woodrow Wilson (born January 10, 1936) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 astronomer
Astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

, 1978 Nobel laureate in physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

, who with Arno Allan Penzias
Arno Allan Penzias
Arno Allan Penzias is an American physicist and Nobel laureate in physics.-Early life and education:Penzias was born in Munich, Germany. At age six he was among the Jewish children evacuated to Britain as part of the Kindertransport rescue operation...

 discovered in 1964 the cosmic microwave background radiation
Cosmic microwave background radiation
In cosmology, cosmic microwave background radiation is thermal radiation filling the observable universe almost uniformly....

 (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
Bell Labs
Bell Laboratories is the research and development subsidiary of the French-owned Alcatel-Lucent and previously of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company , half-owned through its Western Electric manufacturing subsidiary.Bell Laboratories operates its...

 in Holmdel Township, New Jersey
Holmdel Township, New Jersey
Holmdel Township is a township in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township population was 16,773. Holmdel Township was formed by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 23, 1857, from portions of Raritan Township .Holmdel is a suburb of...

, they found a source of noise in the atmosphere that they could not explain. 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
Big Bang
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in...

 theory.

Life and work


Robert Woodrow Wilson was born on January 10, 1936, in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Lamar High School
Lamar High School (Houston)
Mirabeau B. Lamar Senior High School is a secondary school located at 3325 Westheimer Road in Houston, Texas, United States, with a zip code of 77098...

 in River Oaks Houston and studied as an undergraduate at Rice University
Rice University
William Marsh Rice University, commonly referred to as Rice University or Rice, is a private research university located on a heavily wooded campus in Houston, Texas, United States...

 (Houston), where he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa society. His graduate work was done at California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

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Wilson and Penzias also won the Henry Draper Medal
Henry Draper Medal
The Henry Draper Medal is awarded by the United States National Academy of Sciences "for investigations in astronomical physics". Named after Henry Draper, the medal is awarded with a gift of USD $15,000...

 of the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 in 1977.

Wilson has been a resident of Holmdel Township, New Jersey
Holmdel Township, New Jersey
Holmdel Township is a township in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township population was 16,773. Holmdel Township was formed by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 23, 1857, from portions of Raritan Township .Holmdel is a suburb of...

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External links