13.8 billion years ago, something BIG happened called the Big Bang. Since then, life, the universe and everything have been coming along quite nicely. But believe it or not, we humans didn't really know much about the universe's birthday until the 20th century. Bell Labs, the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent, recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation, one of the strongest pieces of evidence supporting the “Big Bang” theory of the origin of the universe. This discovery in 1964 by Bell Labs scientists Arno Penzias and Robert A. Wilson earned the researchers a Nobel Prize in Physics and provided the basis for future astronomical discoveries. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the confirmation of the Big Bang, here's a brief history of the discoveries that helped shape our understanding of the origin of the universe.
Bell Labs Prize Announced
On the occasion of this celebration, Bell Labs is launching a program to expand the scope of innovation at Bell Labs, in keeping with being the world’s pre-eminent research organization in the field of information and communications networking. At the heart of this program is the introduction of the Bell Labs Prize, a competition that will give any researcher, in participating countries around the globe, the chance to introduce their ideas to the world, and collaborate with world-renowned Bell Labs researchers. The Bell Labs Prize winners will take home cash awards worth as much as $100,000, and the chance to further develop their ideas at Bell Labs, where possible. At the heart of the Prize, are some of Bell Labs core convictions that highlight its new direction and mission including:
- The desire to collaborate with the global innovation community (both inside and outside Bell Labs)
- Researchers and innovators need to be focused on the great challenges that will enable the future 10 years from now, that means to solve problems that require a 10x improvement (or more) in multiple dimensions
- These solutions are at the heart of Bell Labs focus on 10x game-changing research and cross-discipline ‘FutureX’ projects that attempt to solve the big problems (many with currently unknown answers to ‘x’)