Robert A Stokes Early spectral measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation

Robert Stokes is President and CEO of Versa Power Systems, a solid-oxide fuel cell development company in the Denver, Colorado area. After completion of his PhD at Princeton in 1968 he received an appointment as an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky where he continued work on the CMBR. Later he managed the engineering physics division at Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, served as Deputy Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and was Senior Vice...

Donald E Osterbrock The helium content of the universe

Donald Osterbrock played a leading role in the study of AGNs. He is author of the influential book, Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae and Active Galactic Nuclei (1989), and coauthor, with Gary J. Ferland, of the greatly expanded second edition (Osterbrock 1989 Osterbrock and Ferland 2006). At the time of his death in January 2007 he was Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I have never done any research in cosmology, but as an onlooker I...

John Faulkner The day Fred Hoyle thought he had disproved the big bang theory

John Faulkner is Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was one of Fred Hoyle's many graduate students from 1960 to 1964, subsequently spent two stimulating years as a postdoctoral fellow in William A. Fowler's Kellogg Laboratory at CalTech, and in 1966 returned to Hoyle's fledgling Institute of Theoretical Astronomy, Cambridge. In 1969, after receiving an offer he couldn't refuse, Faulkner moved to UC Santa Cruz. On a Sunday evening in...

Geoffrey R Burbidge and Jayant V Narlikar Some comments on the early history of the CMBR

Geoffrey Burbidge is Professor of Physics at the University of California, San Diego. He served for six years as Director of the Kitt Peak National Observatory. His latest major award, jointly with Margaret Burbidge, is the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. Jayant Narlikar served as Founder Director of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India, until his retirement in 2003. He is now Emeritus Professor at IUCAA. Among his current interests is...

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Record of our first 7-cm observation. Fig. 4.20. Record of our first 7-cm observation. That was a direct confrontation. We expected 2.3 K from the sky and 1K from the absorption in the walls of the antenna, and we saw something that was obviously considerably more than that. It was really a qualitative difference rather than just quantitative because the antenna was hotter than the helium reference and it should have been colder. But we knew that the problem was either in the antenna...

Kazimir S Stankevich Investigation of the background radiation in the early years of its discovery

Kazimir Stankevich is Honored Worker of Science and the head of the astrophysics section of the Radiophysical Research Institute, Nizhny Novgorod. The second Russian research center for radio astronomy (the first was in Moscow, in the Physical Institute of the Academy of Sciences, FIAN) was formed in the State University in Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod) in the 1950s. Experimental investigations, which started in 1947, developed in the radiophysics department of the Institute of Physics and...

George B Field Cyanogen and the CMBR

George Field is Senior Research Fellow at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and was Director of the Observatory from 1973 to 1982. His current research interest is turbulence in astronomical settings. My encounter with the microwave background began in 1955. I had come to Harvard as a postdoc, intending to search for intergalactic hydrogen by looking for 21-cm absorption in the spectrum of the radio source Cygnus A. While I was making the observations at the Harvard 28-footer, I...

Paul Boynton Testing the fireball hypothesis

Paul Boynton, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Washington, was in his youth a dedicated member of the Princeton Gravity Group from 1967 to 1970. In his essay, Six Cautionary Tales for Scientists, Freeman Dyson com-pellingly warns against idolatry of Big Science and the unacceptable cost of failing to nurture the nimble spirit of exploration inherent in small science (Dyson 1992). During the last few decades, large institutionalized scientific projects have sometimes...

Kenneth C Turner Spreading the word or how the news went from Princeton to Holmdel

Ken Turner has done research in radio astronomy at the Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, and served as Program Officer for Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology at the USA National Science Foundation. His current interests include the study of psychology. After finishing up my PhD at Princeton in 1962, I was awarded a Post Doctoral Fellowship at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. We were located in Northwest Washington, DC, and I was working with...

The thermal cosmic microwave background radiation

Solar Irradiance Planck Radio

A warm body radiates you can feel the thermal radiation from a hot fire. In a closed cavity with walls that are at a fixed temperature the radiation in the cavity relaxes to a spectrum - the intensity of the radiation at each wavelength - that is uniquely determined by the temperature of the walls. The time it takes for the radiation to relax to this thermal spectrum depends on how strongly the walls absorb and emit radiation. If the walls are perfectly absorbing - black - the relaxation time...

Robert V Wagoner An initial impact of the CMBR on nucleosynthesis in big and little bangs

Bob Wagoner is Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Stanford University. A continuing research interest is the physics of compact objects, including their roles as sources of gravitational radiation detectable by LIGO and other facilities. Timing may not be everything, but it certainly can help. In 1960, when I was a mechanical engineering undergraduate at Cornell, I attended the Messenger Lectures of Fred Hoyle on cosmology. That experience, and books such as Dennis Sciama's 1959 The Unity of the...

Neville J Woolf Conversations with Dicke

Nick Woolf is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He was a postdoc in the Princeton University Department of Astrophysical Sciences from 1962 to 1965. His current research interest is astrobiology. I have these memories that tell me that I cost Bob Dicke the Nobel Prize. One evening in the attic of Palmer, I think in early 1964, Bob turned to me and asked me whether there was any way to know the amount of the background radiation. He had already turned Roll and Wilkinson onto...

Patrick Thaddeus Measuring the cosmic microwave background with interstellar molecules

Pat Thaddeus is the Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy, and Professor of Applied Physics, Harvard University, and Senior Space Scientist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Following Penzias and Wilson's great discovery, it was clear that measuring the microwave background near its peak intensity at a wavelength of 2 mm was the crucial observational test to demonstrate the blackbody spectrum of the radiation and its cosmological origin. Most of the energy of a 3-K...

David C Hogg Early lownoise and related studies at Bell Laboratories Holmdel NJ

The US National Academy of Engineering cites Hogg's election to the Academy for his contributions to the understanding of electromagnetic propagation at microwave frequencies through the atmosphere. A native of Saskatchewan, Hogg's current interest is the composition of music. A giant in radio science, Harald T. Friis1 was head of the Bell Radio Research Laboratory in Holmdel. Having pioneered work on the superheterodyne receiver in the late 1920s, he played a key role in Karl Jansky's initial...

John R Shakeshaft Early CMBR observations at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory

John Shakeshaft is an Emeritus Fellow at St Catharine's College, Cambridge. He served for many years as Editor of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. At the time of publication of the Penzias and Wilson 1965a paper, I was a member of staff in the Radio Astronomy Group of the Cavendish Laboratory, the physics department of the University of Cambridge, having been an undergraduate and graduate student at Cambridge, the latter under the inspiring supervision of Martin Ryle. I had...

William Jack Welch Experiments with the CMBR

Jack Welch retired from teaching Astronomy and Electrical Engineering at UC Berkeley in 2005 but continues as the Alberts Professor in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. He was Director of the Radio Astronomy Laboratory at Berkeley from 1972 to 1996 during which time the BIMA Millimeter Telescope Array was built and operated. He continues his research in the interstellar medium and star formation and is currently working on completion of the Allen Telescope Array. My introduction to...

Peter G Roll Recollections of the second measurement of the CMBR at Princeton University in

Peter Roll is retired, after 25 years as a university administrator of technology. He is currently working on the development of a community web portal for the retirement community in which he and his wife live, near Austin, Texas. My perspective on the 1965 discovery of the CMBR is quite different from that of other contributors to these essays. Dave Wilkinson and I had our first measurements of the CMBR in the summer of 1965. We satisfied ourselves and our colleagues - Bob Dicke and Jim...

Martin Harwit An attempt at detecting the cosmic background radiation in the early s

Martin Harwit is Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at Cornell University and former Director of the National Air and Space Museum. He is a mission scientist on the European Space Agency's Far-Infrared Submillimeter Telescope project, Herschel, of which the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is also a sponsor. In 1963 I initiated an effort to look for the cosmic background radiation from space Harwit 1964 . The small research groups I started, first at the NRL in Washington, DC, and...

Nucleosynthesis in a hot big bang

Hydrogen is the most abundant of the chemical elements apart from places like Earth where the heavier elements have collected and condensed , helium amounts to about 25 by mass, and only about 2 of the baryon mass is in heavier elements. What produced this mix In the 1930s people were Fig. 3.1. This illustration of how the CMBR was and could have been identified was made in 1968 by David Wilkinson with other members of the Princeton Gravity Research Group. Fig. 3.1. This illustration of how the...