by Penzias and Wilson
Penzias and Wilson thought the static their radio antenna
was picking up might be due to droppings from pigeons roosting
in the antenna horn. They captured the pigeons with this
trap and cleaned out the horn, but the static persisted.
Lent by Robert Wilson
It's the Pigeons...?
Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were puzzled. The two scientists
at Bell Labs in Holmdel, New Jersey, had ruled out everything
they could think of that could create the static their satellite
communications antenna was picking up. Pigeons had taken to
roosting in the radio antenna's large horn. They thought that
perhaps heat from pigeon droppings was the cause.
They set out a trap to catch the pigeons, but that didn't
resolve the mystery either. No matter where in the sky they
pointed their radio antenna, they kept picking up that faint,
Their determination in 1964 that the entire sky seemed to
be dimly glowing with radio light confirmed physicists' predictions
and later earned Penzias and Wilson a Nobel Prize. The two
scientists had, quite by accident, discovered the fading flash
from the big bang.