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In 1965 a piece of evidence was found that almost all scientists agree conclusively rules out the steady-state theory of the universe. At that time, American physicists Arno Penzias and Robert W. Wilson, working at the Bell Laboratories in New Jersey (now part of Lucent Technologies), discovered faint isotropic radio waves. American astronomers James Peebles, David Roll, David Wilkinson, and Robert Dicke at Princeton University had recently predicted that just such radiation would have been emitted as a result of the hot, dense early universe predicted by the big bang theory.

These scientists were themselves preparing a radio telescope to search for this radiation. (Scientists only later recalled that Gamow and colleagues had earlier predicted such radiation.) This cosmic background radiation is now widely accepted as proof of the big bang theory. The existence of cosmic background radiation is the third pillar of modern cosmology.

The other two pillars are: (1) the uniform expansion of the universe and (2) the match between calculations of the amounts of the lightest chemical elements that would be formed in the first few minutes after a big bang and observations of these elements’ actual relative abundance in space.


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