What was the universe like just 1 million years after the big bang?

Around 1960, physicists at Princeton including Robert Dicke and James Peebles were thinking about this question.

Thinking about the microwave background

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Penzias and Wilson could measure at only one wavelength.

Was it really blackbody radiation as expected for the radiation left over from the big bang?

Further experiments over the years indicated ``yes'' but they were difficult and not very precise.

In 1989 a sattelite called the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) was placed into orbit. Its purpose was to take a detailed look at the radiation.


Davison E. Soper, Institute of Theoretical Science, University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403 USA soper@bovine.uoregon.edu