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Cosmology and controversy : the historical development of two theories of the universe

Author: Helge Kragh
Publisher: Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, [1996]
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
For over three millennia, most people could understand the universe only in terms of myth, religion, and philosophy. Between 1920 and 1970, cosmology transformed into a branch of physics. With this remarkably rapid change came a theory that would finally lend empirical support to many long-held beliefs about the origins and development of the entire universe: the theory of the big bang. In this book, Helge Kragh  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Helge Kragh
ISBN: 0691026238 9780691026237
OCLC Number: 34473321
Description: xiii, 500 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Ch. 1. Background: From Einstein to Hubble --
Ch. 2. Lemaitre's Fireworks Universe --
Ch. 3. Gamow's Big Bang --
Ch. 4. The Steady-State Alternative --
Ch. 5. Creation and Controversy --
Ch. 6. The Universe Observed --
Ch. 7. From Controversy to Marginalization --
Ch. 8. Epilogue: Dynamics of a Controversy --
Appendix I.A Cosmological Chronology, 1917-1971 --
Appendix II. Technical Glossary.
Responsibility: Helge Kragh.
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Abstract:

Between 1920 and 1970, cosmology transformed into a branch or physics. This text examines how the big bang theory drew inspiration from and eventually triumphed over rival views, mainly the  Read more...

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"The ultimate validation of the big-bang theory makes for a fascinating book. Kragh [tells] the story in comprehensive and compelling detail."--Jack Zirker, National Optical Astronomy Observatories Read more...

 
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    schema:description "For over three millennia, most people could understand the universe only in terms of myth, religion, and philosophy. Between 1920 and 1970, cosmology transformed into a branch of physics. With this remarkably rapid change came a theory that would finally lend empirical support to many long-held beliefs about the origins and development of the entire universe: the theory of the big bang. In this book, Helge Kragh presents the development of scientific cosmology for the first time as a historical event, one that embroiled many famous scientists in a controversy over the very notion of an evolving universe with a beginning in time. In rich detail he examines how the big-bang theory drew inspiration from and eventually triumphed over rival views, mainly the steady-state theory and its concept of a stationary universe of infinite age. In the 1920s, Alexander Friedmann and Georges Lemaitre showed that Einstein's general relativity equations possessed solutions for a universe expanding in time. Kragh follows the story from here, showing how the big-bang theory evolved, from Edwin Hubble's observation that most galaxies are receding from us, to the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation. Sir Fred Hoyle proposed instead the steady-state theory, a model of dynamic equilibrium involving the continuous creation of matter throughout the universe. Although today it is generally accepted that the universe started some ten billion years ago in a big bang, many readers may not fully realize that this standard view owed much of its formation to the steady-state theory. By exploring the similarities and tensions between the theories, Kragh provides the reader with indispensable background for understanding much of today's commentary about our universe."@en ;
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