Science: An Echo from The Creation

Two Americans, a Russian and a Briton win Nobels

It was a classic case of scientific serendipity. The two young scientists at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel, N.J., were using a hornlike antenna to "listen" to the faint background hiss created by stars and other radio sources in the Milky Way galaxy. What they picked up was a faint echo of the creation, the remnant of the cataclysmic fireball, or Big Bang, that gave birth to the universe 15 to 20 billion years ago.

For that discovery, made in 1964, Arno Penzias, 45, and Robert Wilson, 42, last week won the 1978...