Physics in Perspective

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 300–334

Ralph A. Alpher, Robert C. Herman, and the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation


DOI: 10.1007/s00016-012-0088-7

Cite this article as:
Alpher, V.S. Phys. Perspect. (2012) 14: 300. doi:10.1007/s00016-012-0088-7


Much of the literature on the history of the prediction and discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) is incorrect in some respects. I focus on the early history of the CMBR, from its prediction in 1948 to its measurement in 1964, basing my discussion on the published literature, the private papers of Ralph A. Alpher, and interviews with several of the major figures involved in the prediction and measurement of the CMBR. I show that the early prediction of the CMBR continues to be widely misunderstood.


Ralph A. AlpherRobert C. HermanGeorge GamowHans A. BetheLuis J. BoyaSubramanyan ChandrasekharRobert H. DickeAndrei G. DoroshkevichMartin O. HarwitFred HoyleHarold I. EwenJohn C. MatherIgor D. NovikovP. James E. PeeblesAnro A. PenziasEdward M. PurcellGeorge F. SmootRashid SunyaevMerle A. TuveSteven WeinbergRobert W. WilsonYakov B. Zel’dovichGeorge Washington UniversityJohns Hopkins University Applied Physics LaboratoryDepartment of Terrestrial MagnetismCarnegie InstitutionPrinceton UniversityNational Bureau of StandardsNaval Research LaboratoryU.S. Navy Bureau of OrdnancePhilosophical Society of WashingtonWashington Academy of SciencesWashington Conferences on Theoretical PhysicsGeneral Electric Corporate Research and Development CenterGeneral Motors Research LaboratoryUnion CollegeUniversity of Texas at AustinNobel Prize in PhysicsDicke radiometerCosmic Microwave Background RadiationCosmic Microwave Background Explorersteady-state cosmologybig bang cosmologyylembolometer

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© Springer Basel AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AustinUSA