This is the developmental unit for a differential microwave radiometer. The instrument was designed to to fly on either the Space Shuttle or the COBE satellite to measure the cosmic microwave background remnant radiaiton field. That field, first detected by Penzias and Wilson in 1965, is believed to be a remnant of the origin of the Universe. This developmental unit was built and designed by George Smoot and his colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley to study that microwave background. It incorporates the designs of those that flew on the NASA Ames U-2 aircraft in California (1975-1976) and in Chile and Peru (1979) and then on the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite in 1989. Data from COBE's combined instruments provided the first all-sky map of this remnant radiation.
The University of California at Berkeley Lawrence National Laboratory transferred this object to the Museum in 1996.
Gift of the University of California, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory