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60th Anniversary of CMBR Discovery with Holmdel Township

April 20th, 2024

The HORN ANTENNA gave us a radically NEW STORY about our universe and it’s origin.  It began in a fireball and its evolving!

On April 20th, several independent efforts cosmically came together. Local and global efforts independently had combined efforts to convince the town of Holmdel, NJ to purchase the property and preserve the Horn antenna from demolition. The Deeptime Network had been planning a 60 Year Anniversary of the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation for April 20th. Little did we know that the town of Holmdel had quietly also been planning a ribbon cutting to celebrate preservation of the property and to name the Robert Wilson Park on the very same day.  DTN quickly reorganized our plan to include Holmdel’s celebration in our day and what a glorious day it way!

  This discovery isn’t only about science, it’s about our radical belonging to the Cosmos, thus integrating meaning and spiritual experience with science, a huge breakthrough for me personally and for our culture as a whole.”

Dr. Mary Conrow Coelho, author, Awakening Universe, Emerging Personhood.

Inside the Horn Antenna

Stephan Martin (Director, Deeptime Leadership & Wellbeing Program) and Brian Tucker (Deeptime Network board member) talk with a reporter on the left.

Wini Wolff, a certfied Deeptime Leader (2023) listens to the universe inside the Horn Antenna.

Jennifer Morgan (president, Deeptime Network), Lisa Olsen, Lyman Page, and Orla Hazra (founding board member, Deeptime Network) inside the Horn Antenna. Lyman Page is former chair of the Princeton Physics Department and with a team of scientists and engineers built WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe).

Dials (and pencil sharpener) inside the Horn Antenna. They look ancient, don’t they!  Hard to believe, but these are the very tools that helped humans find the CMBR.

Discovering Our DEEPTIME ORIGIN STORY Sixty Years Ago

In 1964, two radio astronomers, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, working for Bell Labs, accidentally discovered the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), evidence that the universe did indeed start as a fiery ball, smaller than a grain of sand, which exploded in a Big Bang, and continues to expand and unfold even today. For this scientific breakthrough, Penzias and Wilson won the Nobel Prize in Physics. Humans had evidence, for the very first time, that the universe isn’t static; that the universe is a single integrated entity that is constantly evolving, a stunning breakthough discovery about our origin and identity.  For more info about this spectacular discovery, click here.

This image is the detailed, all-sky picture of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR), radiation leftover from the Big Bang.  (Imagine yourself in the center with CMBR image shown wrapped around you.)  It shows the infant universe created from seven years of WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) data. The image reveals 13.7 billion year old temperature fluctuations (shown as color differences) that correspond to the seeds that grew to become the galaxies, living things, and us. Credit: NASA

What is the Horn Antenna and Why Preserving it is so Important?

The Horn antenna is a 20 ft tall and 50 ft long, specialized antenna situated on Crawford Hill in Holmdel, New Jersey. Because of its scientific significance it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. However, last year a developer announced plans to dismantle the antenna and build condominiums at the site. A huge effort by several grassroot citizen organizations — demonstrated in part by more than 8,000 signatures on a petition disseminated by community groups — resulted in Holmdel Township buying the land and the antenna. The town plans to turn the land into a public park with an education center.  To read more about the Horn Antenna, click here

Nobel Laureate Robert Wilson explains how the discovery happened.  To watch a video of clips of his presentation, click here

Kendra Kehde, certified Deeptime Leader (2023), reads her poem “The Big Bang Blows it’s Horn” as part of the Holmdel’s ribbon cutting ceremony, while Holmdel mayor Rocco Impreveduto looks on.  To read Ms. Kehde’s poem, click here.

Karen Kudebeh, right, leads a ritual in orienting to place after the ribbon cutting ceremony.

  “This discovery was a stunning breakthrough in human understanding of our origin and identity. We come out of, and ARE, the universe. We’re not IN a story. We ARE the story.”

Jennifer Morgan, president, Deeptime Network


DTN Meets in the Bell Works Building

The Deeptime Network meeting that day, April 20th, was held in the Bell Works building in Holmdel, New Jersey (once Bell Labs) where the research behind the cosmic microwave background discovery was conducted, and which has now been converted into an indoor community hub. To see a video about the building, click here.

Deeptimers meet in the Bell Works building. The afternoon session took place in the “Wave” room downstairs. All of the conference rooms are names after physics terms: Quantum, Wave, Neutron, Electron, Proton, Space, Theory, Time, and Light.

The Omnicentric Universe

Physicist Sarbmeet Kanwal lead us in a discussion about the larger story behind the landmark discovery that happened at the Horn Antenna, and what it means for human understanding and identity.  One implication for human understanding, according to Dr. Kanwal, lies in its revelation that every place is at the center of the universe and also at the leading edge of its emergence. By providing evidence for our big bang origin, it showed us that we are not speeding away from some distant center from where the universe emerged. Instead, each of us is a center from which our omnicentric universe unfolds moment by moment. The cosmic background light bathes us with equal intensity from every direction because, as the Budassi diagram so beautifully illustrates, we are still at the center of the fireball.

Dr. Kanwal uses paper clips on a rubber band to explain that whichever galaxy you observe from, the other galaxies appear to be speeding away from you. Galaxies aren’t actually moving away, space between them is growing, Dr. Kanwal said.  He explained that every place is a center from which cosmic evolution unfolds.    

The artistic rendition by Peter Bodassi shows the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) coming to us from all directions, which is what Penzias and Wilson discovered with the Horn antenna.  In a sense, everything is at the center of the fireball.  At one point, Dr. Kanwal playfully held a copy of Bodassi’s painting over his head like a halo.

Dr. Kanwal interpreted Brian Swimme’s quote above to mean that the universe coded its story in every photon of the fireball’s light and permeated the universe with it.  Then it kept unfolding for 14 billion years until humans arrived and invented the Horn antenna to decode its story in the patterns of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR).


Fish Radio Meditation

You can tune a radio between channels and hear static, part of which is energy left over from the hot primordial universe. This static is known as the cosmic microwave background radiation. As part of our celebration we meditated on the radio hiss, sensing ourselves bathed in, and part of this energy that surrounds us

Shown here is a photo of an analog fish radio brought to the event by founding board member Orla Hazra to be used for the radio meditation. It was purchased by her mother in the 1930s. The eye is used to adjust volume and the pectoral fin selects the station.

Dr. Orla Hazra explained that the WMAP image, in the photo to the right, is not only an image of the baby universe, it’s also our sonogram.  Dr. Hazra’s birthday happened to be on the same day as the Horn antenna event, and she pointed out that we were all born inside the early universe.

Stephan Martin discusses the radio and how we can tune into the actual CMBR. After Jennifer Morgan lead everyone in a relaxation exercise, the radio was turned on and tuned to the static, actual music of the universe, for all of us to listen to in silence.

Deeptimers at an Airbnb in Keansburg, New Jersey

Questions?   Write to us at [email protected].