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On Anniversary of Big Bang Theory, Nobel Prize Winners Reunite in Holmdel

Nobel Prize Winners in Physics, Arno Penzias and Bob Wilson, come back to Bell Labs to celebrate an important discovery.

Arno Penzias and Bob Wilson at the 50th Anniversary of the Big Bang Cosmic Background Radiation discovery celebration in Holmdel, on May 20, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Wolkovitz
Arno Penzias and Bob Wilson at the 50th Anniversary of the Big Bang Cosmic Background Radiation discovery celebration in Holmdel, on May 20, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Wolkovitz
The two scientists who shared a Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering evidence supporting the Big Bang Theory 50 years ago reunited in Holmdel Tuesday, at a friendly outdoor celebration attended by past and present colleagues of Bell Labs. 

Arno Penzias and Robert A. Wilson stood together beneath the hulking horn-reflector antenna on Crawford Hill, which they famously employed to detect cosmic microwave background radiation that could help explain the origin of the universe. It is now a national landmark. 

Wilson, who still resides in Holmdel, gave a speech about the work that led to the team's discovery at Bell Labs research laboratory nearby. The humble scientist said there was no "Aha!" moment, just long periods of research and work that came to attention after a New York Times science reporter published an article that hit the front page a day after an interview in 1964. "The world was ready," he said. "It's very satisfying to look back and see we did our job right." 

Penzias, the loquacious researcher who set high standards at Bell Labs, used some of his time at the podium to ponder the mystery of what sparked the Big Bang, the ever expanding universe, and the "exquisitely tuned conditions" that produced human life. "Having discovered this is as close to being religious as I can be," he said.

Big, tantalizing questions and problems are welcome at Bell Labs- Alcatel Lucent, said President Marcus Weldon, who wants to "bring back the magic."  Weldon said Tuesday he wants his company to tackle huge problems that have no answers and "to expect answers ten times better than the ones we have today," he said. 

"I'm taking Bell Labs back to an old model where we can reinvent the future," he told the crowd. 

Weldon announced the introduction of the Bell Labs prize, a competition that will give any researcher the chance to introduce their ideas to the world and collaborate with Bell Labs researchers. Winners will take home cash awards worth $100,000 and the chance to further develop their ideas at Bell Labs, where possible. 

In addition to the Prize, plans for a new remote Bell Labs office near Tel Aviv, Israel were also announced. 
Mischa May 21, 2014 at 08:55 AM
It's gratifying to see that the outstanding scientific research and work of these two gentlemen and Bell Laboratories continues to be recognized.

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