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Discovering the Expanding Universe - Harry Nussbaumer

Discovering the Expanding Universe

Hardcover Published: 18th May 2009
ISBN: 9780521514842
Number Of Pages: 244

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The discovery of the expanding universe is one of the most exciting exploits in astronomy. This book explores its history, from the beginnings of modern cosmology with Einstein in 1917, through Lema's discovery of the expanding universe in 1927 and his suggestion of a Big Bang origin, to Hubble's contribution of 1929 and the subsequent years when Hubble and Humason provided the essential observations for further developing modern cosmology, and finally to Einstein's conversion to the expanding universe in 1931.

As a prelude the book traces the evolution of some of the notions of modern cosmology from the late Middle Ages up to the final acceptance of the concept of galaxies in 1925.

Written in non-technical language, with a mathematical appendix, the book will appeal to scientists, students, and anyone interested in the history of astronomy and cosmology.

About the Author

Harry Nussbaumer is Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Astronomy, ETH Zurich. Lydia Bieri is Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Harvard University. Allan Sandage is Astronomer Emeritus at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Pasadena.

Industry Reviews

'It's wonderful to have such expert guides. Though their book claims to be for the interested man, it will prove most valuable to Physics Today readers. ... Discovering the Expanding Universe is the one you should read.' Physics Today 'Based on a close reading of original papers, this book is a pleasure to read and will be welcomed not only by professional scientists but also by amateurs. The mathematics is conveniently, and fittingly, removed to a masterly appendix.' Nuncius: Journal of the History of Science

Acknowledgementsp. ix
Forewordp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Cosmological concepts at the end of the Middle Agesp. 5
The spherically closed universe of antiquity and the Middle Agesp. 6
Cusanus and his universe without centre or boundaryp. 10
A warning by the Churchp. 13
Copernicus and the question of an infinite universep. 14
Thomas Digges: How far do stars extend?p. 15
A crucial step in observational techniquesp. 16
Kepler's finite universe and Galileo's telescopep. 17
Descartes: An evolving universep. 21
Newton's Principia and Bentley's sermonp. 24
Nebulae as a new astronomical phenomenonp. 27
Early reports on nebulaep. 27
Edmond Halley on several nebulae or lucid spots like cloudsp. 29
The universes of Wright, Kant and Laplacep. 31
On the construction of the heavensp. 35
Herschel confirms and then rejects island universesp. 35
The Leviathan of William Parsons, the Earl of Rossep. 40
Huggins applies spectroscopy on nebulaep. 42
On the spectrum of the great nebula in Andromedap. 45
Island universes turn into astronomical facts: A universe of galaxiesp. 46
Kapteyn's Galaxyp. 47
Shapley's Changing view of the Milky Wayp. 48
Slipher favours island universesp. 56
Curtis and his novaep. 57
Was there a villain in the game?p. 58
The Great Debatep. 59
Öpik finds the distance to Andromedap. 60
Hubble cuts the Gordian knotp. 60
The early cosmology of Einstein and de Sitterp. 63
Some fundamental relationsp. 65
The static universe of Einsteinp. 72
The static universe of de Sitterp. 76
De Sitter's Trojan horsep. 77
No energy conservation in relativistic cosmology!p. 85
Schwarzschild's vision of curved spacep. 87
The dynamical universe of Friedmannp. 88
An alternative to Einstein and de Sitterp. 89
Einstein's rejectionp. 92
Redshifts: How to reconcile Slipher and de Sitter?p. 93
Redshiftsp. 93
Distancesp. 95
Early interpretation of redshiftsp. 96
Lemaître discovers the expanding universep. 99
Lemaître, a student of Eddington and research fellow in Shapley's groupp. 99
Doubts about de Sitter's choice of coordinatesp. 101
The discovery of the expanding universep. 103
The derivation of the linear velocity-distance relationshipp. 106
Lemaître determines the 'Hubble constant' from observationsp. 108
Lemaître's Interpretation of theory and observationsp. 109
Lemaître's debt to Friedmannp. 110
Einstein judges Lemaître's interpretation as 'abominable'p. 111
Hubble's contribution of 1929p. 114
Hubble finds the linear velocity-distance relationship from observationsp. 115
Hubble's interpretation of the velocity-distance relationshipp. 117
What was Hubble's motive for his 1929 investigation?p. 117
The reception of Hubble's discoveryp. 118
Hubble and the expansion of the Universep. 119
The breakthrough for the expanding universep. 121
The Friday, 10 January 1930 meeting of the Royal Astronomical Societyp. 121
Sir Arthur Stanley Eddingtonp. 124
The spreading of the gospelp. 125
Hubble's anger about de Sitterp. 129
De Sitter's check on Hubblep. 129
Hubble's angry letterp. 130
Hubble and Humason enlarge the samplep. 134
Robertson and Tolman join the gamep. 137
Robertson starts from first principlesp. 137
Tolman and the annihilation of matterp. 139
Weyl's brief return to cosmologyp. 142
The Einstein-de Sitter universep. 144
Einstein's conversionp. 144
Einstein and de Sitter agree on the structure of the Universep. 149
Eddington's 'after dinner speech'p. 152
Are the Sun and Earth older than the Universe?p. 153
The age of the Universe deduced from the expansion ratep. 153
The age of the Earthp. 154
The age of the Sun and the starsp. 154
Baade and Sandage drastically reduce the Hubble constantp. 156
In search of alternative tracksp. 157
Zwicky and the gravitational dragp. 157
Milne's static Euclidean spacep. 158
The Steady State alternativep. 161
The seed for the Big Bangp. 164
Expansion out of Einstein's static statep. 165
Expansion out of a primeval atom: The ancestor of the Big Bangp. 166
A case for the cosmological constantp. 168
Is there a beginning to the Universe?p. 169
Is the Big Bang the origin, or a transition in a cyclic universe?p. 170
Dark energy: Lemaître equates the cosmological constant $$ with Vacuum energyp. 171
Summary and Postscriptp. 173
A brief recollectionp. 173
The birth of modern cosmologyp. 174
How different is today's cosmologyp. 177
A glass of portp. 186
Mathematical Appendixp. 188
Chapter 6: The early cosmology of Einstein and de Sitterp. 188
Some fundamental relationsp. 188
The static universe of Einsteinp. 193
The static universe of de Sitterp. 195
De Sitter's Trojan horsep. 196
Chapter 7: The dynamical universe of Friedmannp. 197
Chapter 9: Lemaître's discovery of the expanding universep. 198
Doubts about de Sitter's choice of coordinatesp. 198
The discovery of the expanding universep. 199
Chapter 13: Robertson and Tolman join the gamep. 201
Robertson starts from first principlesp. 201
Tolman and the annihilation of matterp. 203
Chapter 14: The Einstein-de Sitter universep. 204
Today's presentation of fundamental cosmological relationsp. 205
Abbreviationsp. 209
Referencesp. 210
Indexp. 220
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521514842
ISBN-10: 0521514843
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 244
Published: 18th May 2009
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.7 x 18.0  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.641

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