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Proceedings Paper

The history of noise
Author(s): Leon Cohen
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Paper Abstract

"Noise" had a glorious birth. While there were rumblings before 1905, it was Einstein's explanation of Brownian motion that started the field. His motivation was not the mere explanation of the erratic movement of pollen, but much bigger: that noise could establish the existence of atoms. Immediately after Einstein there was an incredible flurry of ideas of the most profound kind that continues to this day. But noise, considered by many as unwanted, and mistakenly defined as such by some, has little respectability. The term itself conjures up images of rejection. Yet, it is an idea that has served mankind in the most profound ways. It would be a dull gray world without noise. The story of noise is fascinating and while in its early stages its story was clearly told, its subsequent divergence into many subfields has often resulted in a lack of understanding of its historical origins and development. We try to give it some justice. We discuss who did what, when, and why, and the historical misconceptions. But most importantly, we aim to show that the story of noise is an exciting story worth telling.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 May 2004
PDF: 25 pages
Proc. SPIE 5473, Noise in Communication, (25 May 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.547847
Show Author Affiliations
Leon Cohen, City Univ. of New York (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5473:
Noise in Communication
Langford B. White, Editor(s)

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