Monday, November 28, 2016

The Drunk History of the Discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

Justin Long and Jason Ritter as Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in the Drunk History episode "New Jersey"  

Drunk History is an absolutely hilarious show. Each episode features three pieces of historical account, all related by some theme or location, and all acted out by a mix of fantastic actors and comedians. The best part: the historical accounts are delivered by people who are ridiculously drunk, and the actors who portray historical figures all lip sync with the spoken words of the drunk story tellers. It's an incredibly fun way to learn about history!

One of my favorite pieces so far from Drunk History was when Jenny Slate tells the story of the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in 1964. The parts of Penzias and Wilson are played by Justin Long and Jason Ritter, respectively. This discovery, which showed that there is a remnant thermal radiation throughout the universe which derived from a time not too long after the Big Bang, when protons and electrons where combining to form atoms of hydrogen. This radiation, now often referred to as Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB, was an important piece to our understanding of modern cosmology and the history of the known universe. 

Definitely check out the Drunk History piece on this discovery. It's called A Sound in Space:

Not only is it informative (though not totally correct), but Jenny Slate is absolutely awesome in this episode.

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