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Arno Allan Penzias (born 26 April 1933) is an American physicist and Nobel laureate in physics.
Early life and education 
Penzias was born in Munich, Germany, the son of Justine (née Eisenreich) and Karl Penzias, who ran a leather business. At age six, he was among the Jewish children evacuated to Britain as part of the Kindertransport rescue operation. Some time later, his parents also fled Nazi Germany for the U.S., and the family settled in the Garment District of New York City in 1940. In 1946, Penzias became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1951 and received a bachelor's degree from the City College of New York in 1954. From Columbia University, he received his Master's degree in 1958 and his Ph.D. in 1962.
He went on to work at Bell Labs in Holmdel, New Jersey, where, with Robert Woodrow Wilson, he worked on ultra-sensitive cryogenic microwave receivers, intended for radio astronomy observations. In 1964, on building their most sensitive antenna/receiver system, the pair encountered radio noise which they could not explain. It was far less energetic than the radiation given off by the Milky Way, and it was isotropic, so they assumed their instrument was subject to interference by terrestrial sources. They tried, and then rejected, the hypothesis that the radio noise emanated from New York City. An examination of the microwave horn antenna showed it was full of pigeon droppings (which Penzias described as "white dielectric material"). After the pair removed the dung buildup, and the pigeons were shot (each physicist says the other ordered the deed), the noise remained. Having rejected all sources of interference, the pair published a paper announcing their findings. This was later identified by Robert Dicke  as the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), the radio remnant of the Big Bang. This allowed astronomers to confirm the Big Bang, and to correct many of their previous assumptions about it.
Penzias and Wilson stand at the 15 meter Holmdel Horn Antenna
that brought their most notable discovery.
He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1975. Penzias and Wilson received the 1978 Nobel Prize, sharing it with Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa (Kapitsa's work was unrelated to Penzias and Wilson's). In 1977, the two had received the Henry Draper Medal of the National Academy of Sciences. Penzias is also the recipient of The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence. In 1998, he was awarded the IRI Medal from the Industrial Research Institute.
Penzias has been a resident of Highland Park, New Jersey. He has a son, David, and two daughters, Mindy Penzias Dirks, PhD, and Rabbi Shifra (Laurie) Weiss-Penzias. He currently serves as a venture partner at New Enterprise Associates.
- ^ http://www.bookrags.com/research/penzias-arno-1933---woes-02/
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- ^ http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/famous-scientists/physicists/arno-allan-penzias-info.htm
- ^ http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1978/penzias-autobio.html
- ^ "Arno Allan Penzias". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
- ^ www.physics.org. "Nobel-prize winning accidents". Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- ^ Lehrer, Jonah (21 December 2009). "The Neuroscience of Screwing up". Wired (magazine). Archived from the original on 29 December 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
- ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter P". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- ^ "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
- ^ Horner, Shirley (3 October 1993). "About Books". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
- ^ B Schlessinger, Bernard S. and June H., Who's Who of Nobel Prize Winners, 1901-1990, (Oryx Press, 1991) p. 203
- ^ Rabbi Jonathon Klein's Blog, Sept. 22, 2006
- ^ Team / Arno Penzias
See also 
External links