Robert H. Dicke

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Robert Henry Dicke (May 6 1916March 4 1997) was an American experimental physicist, who made important contributions to the fields of astrophysics, atomic physics, cosmology and gravity.

Dicke completed his bachelor's degree at Princeton University and his doctorate, in 1939, from the University of Rochester in nuclear physics. During the second world war he worked in the radiation laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he worked on the development of radar and designed the Dicke radiometer, a microwave receiver. He used this to set a limit on the temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation, from the roof of the radiation laboratory, of less than 20 Kelvin.

In 1946, he returned to Princeton University, where he remained for the rest of his career. He did some work in atomic physics, particularly on the laser and measuring the gyromagnetic ratio of the electron.

He was instrumental in early measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation, whose physics he worked out with Philip James Edwin Peebles, David Todd Wilkinson and Peter G. Roll (having forgotten the earlier prediction of George Gamow). The Dicke radiometer has been used for many measurements of the background radiation, including that of Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson.

He spent the remained of his career developing a program of precision tests of general relativity using the framework of the equivalence principle. With Carl Brans, he developed Brans-Dicke theory, an equivalence-principle violating modification of general relativity inspired by Paul Dirac's large numbers hypothesis and Mach's principle. He made measurements of solar oblateness which were useful in understanding the perihelion precession of Mercury, one of the classical tests of general relativity.

Together with Philip James Edwin Peebles he was instrumental in transforming cosmology into a respectable field of inquiry in physics.

External links


  • J. R. Kuhn, K. G. Libbrecht and R. H. Dicke, "The surface temperature of the sun and changes in the solar constant", Science 242, 908 (1988).
  • J. G. Williams, R. H. Dicke, P. L. Bender, C. O. Alley, D. G. Currie, W. E. Carter, D. H. Eckhardt, J. E. Faller, W. M. Kaula, J. D. Mulholland, "New test of the equivalence principle from lunar laser ranging", Phys. Rev. Lett. 36, 551 (1976).
  • P. J. E. Peebles and R. H. Dicke, "Origin of the Globular Star Clusters", Astrophys. J. 154, 891 (1968).
  • R. H. Dicke and H. M. Goldenberg, "Solar Oblateness and General Relativity", Phys. Rev. Lett. 18, 313 (1967)
  • R. H. Dicke, P. J. E. Peebles, P. G. Roll and D. T. Wilkinson, "Cosmic Black-Body Radiation", Astrophys. J. 142, 414 (1965).
  • P. G. Roll, R. Krotkov and R. H. Dicke, "The Equivalence Of Inertial And Passive Gravitational Mass", Ann. Phys. 26, 446 (1964).
  • R. H. Dicke, "Mach's Principle And Invariance Under Transformation Of Units," Phys. Rev. 125, 2163 (1962).
  • C. Brans and R. H. Dicke, "Mach's Principle And A Relativistic Theory Of Gravitation," Phys. Rev. 124, 925 (1961).de:Robert Henry Dicke

sl:Robert Henry Dicke


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