The Big Bang Mile

The Big Bang Mile

Date(s) - 06/26/2021
8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Bell Labs Holmdel Complex

The Story Behind the Big Bang Mile

The Bell Works building was once a primary location for Bell Laboratories. “Bell Labs” attracted top-notch scientists to conduct basic research that might advance telephony. Two such scientists, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, studied radio signals from space in support of the Telstar project. In 1964, to their surprise, they observed a background noise coming from every direction in the sky. Wherever they pointed their radio telescope, they measured the same frequency and strength of microwave radiation. Puzzled, Penzias and Wilson conferred with colleagues. Princeton University astronomer Robert Dicke revealed they had found evidence for the Big Bang. This is a theory that the universe started with an explosion 13.8 billion years ago. For their important contribution to science, Penzias and Wilson were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1978.

The radio telescope used by Penzias and Wilson still stands today. It is located on top of Crawford Hill, about 2 miles northwest of the Bell Works facility. A nearby plaque explains its significance. It is worth a visit.