The Big Bang Theory

Arno Penzias was born in Germany in 1933 to Jewish parents. His family was rounded up and deported to Poland. They were returned to Germany, but he and his brother were sent to England. Eventually, his parents were able to get to England and sail to America.

Arno studied physics in college. After two years in the Army, Arno continued his study in physics earning a Ph.D. in 1962 from Columbia University. He then went to work with Bell Labs. He partnered with Robert Wilson on highly sensitive microwave receivers. They began to notice radio noise they couldn’t explain. All possible sources of the noise were checked into and found not to be the source of the noise.

Astronomers had predicted background radiation as a lingering result of the Big Bang originating the universe. The radiation that Arno and Wilson discovered essentially confirmed the Big Bang Theory. For their discovery, he and Wilson won the Nobel Prize.

Arno began to assume more management responsibilities and eventually became Vice-President of Research for Bell Labs. Then Arno’s own “big bang” occurred. In a settlement between AT&T and the federal government, Bell Labs was spun off into another company.

Arno had the daunting task of managing this new company while requiring an entirely different culture. The new organization branched out into new technologies and became an incubator for the information revolution.

Arno, himself, decided to leave his corporate home for most of his career and use his experience to guide technology-based firms on their business strategies. He had his own beginning as a consultant, author, and business analyst.

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            “While change is rarely comfortable, I am happy to say that we not only survived but also grew more capable in the process – seeding much of the information revolution which now pervades the world in which we live.” – Arno Penzias

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