Cosmology and Controversy: The Historical Development of Two Theories of the Universe / Edition 1

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Overview

"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

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Editorial Reviews

New Scientist - Marcus Chown
An exhilarating read—and not just for cosmologists. For although Kragh has produced a thoroughly scholarly work, he is nevertheless an excellent writer and his book could easily be enjoyed by anyone who is fascinated by the evolution of big scientific ideas. And they don't come much bigger than the origin, evolution, and fate of the Universe.
Science - Woodruff T. Sullivan III
[An] insightful, thoroughly researched treatment of the intellectual development of modern cosmology.
The Times Literary Supplement - Bernard Lovell
[An] excellent book.... It is difficult to imagine a more complete and scholarly account of this epoch of cosmological history.
Nature - Hermann Bondi
As one who has been intimately involved with the subject, I thoroughly appreciated reading this work.... There are still a few left who believe that science advances relentlessly in a straight line. The actual zigzag path is beautifully illuminated in this book.
Physics Today - Karl Hufbauer
[A] masterful interpretation of modern cosmology's emergence.
Contemporary Physics - D.R. Matravers
This is very good scientific history and in some measure philosophy written by someone who has an understanding of the process of scientific work. The writing is clear and largely non-technical. . . . The general ideas that underpin the book hold for science broadly. Although the focus is cosmology, the book will appeal to anyone to anyone with an interest in how science actually works, whether it is through the history or the philosophy.
From the Publisher
Honorable Mention for the 1997 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Physics and Astronomy, Association of American Publishers

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1997

"An exhilarating read—and not just for cosmologists. For although Kragh has produced a thoroughly scholarly work, he is nevertheless an excellent writer and his book could easily be enjoyed by anyone who is fascinated by the evolution of big scientific ideas. And they don't come much bigger than the origin, evolution, and fate of the Universe."—Marcus Chown, New Scientist

"[An] insightful, thoroughly researched treatment of the intellectual development of modern cosmology."—Woodruff T. Sullivan III, Science

"[An] excellent book . . . [a] thorough and detailed understanding. . . has enabled Kragh to write. . . enjoyable descriptions of complex issues. . . . It is difficult to imagine a more complete and scholarly account of this epoch of cosmological history."—Bernard Lovell, The Times Literary Supplement

"As one who has been intimately involved with the subject, I thoroughly appreciated reading this work.... There are still a few left who believe that science advances relentlessly in a straight line. The actual zigzag path is beautifully illuminated in this book."—Hermann Bondi, Nature

"[A] masterful interpretation of modern cosmology's emergence."—Karl Hufbauer, Physics Today

"[An] excellent book.... It is difficult to imagine a more complete and scholarly account of this epoch of cosmological history."—Bernard Lovell, The Times Literary Supplement

"This is very good scientific history and in some measure philosophy written by someone who has an understanding of the process of scientific work. The writing is clear and largely non-technical. . . . The general ideas that underpin the book hold for science broadly. Although the focus is cosmology, the book will appeal to anyone to anyone with an interest in how science actually works, whether it is through the history or the philosophy."—D.R. Matravers, Contemporary Physics

New Scientist
An exhilarating read—and not just for cosmologists. For although Kragh has produced a thoroughly scholarly work, he is nevertheless an excellent writer and his book could easily be enjoyed by anyone who is fascinated by the evolution of big scientific ideas. And they don't come much bigger than the origin, evolution, and fate of the Universe.
— Marcus Chown
Science
[An] insightful, thoroughly researched treatment of the intellectual development of modern cosmology.
— Woodruff T. Sullivan III
Nature
As one who has been intimately involved with the subject, I thoroughly appreciated reading this work.... There are still a few left who believe that science advances relentlessly in a straight line. The actual zigzag path is beautifully illuminated in this book.
— Hermann Bondi
Physics Today
[A] masterful interpretation of modern cosmology's emergence.
— Karl Hufbauer
Contemporary Physics
This is very good scientific history and in some measure philosophy written by someone who has an understanding of the process of scientific work. The writing is clear and largely non-technical. . . . The general ideas that underpin the book hold for science broadly. Although the focus is cosmology, the book will appeal to anyone to anyone with an interest in how science actually works, whether it is through the history or the philosophy.
— D.R. Matravers
The Times Literary Supplement
[An] excellent book.... It is difficult to imagine a more complete and scholarly account of this epoch of cosmological history.
— Bernard Lovell
Library Journal
Today we take it for granted that the universe began with a big bang. But this has not always been the case. Prior to its wide acceptance as the most probable origin of our universe, the big bang theory had to win over the rival viewpoint of the steady-state theory. Between 1920 and 1970, cosmology became a bonafide branch of physics. Up to this time, people viewed the birth of the universe from the standpoint of religion, philosophy, and myth. Kragh (science history, Univ. of Oslo) presents a detailed, scholarly history of this period of scientific cosmological development, discussing the primary scientists involved in both arguments. Undoubtedly, Kragh's book offers a significant accounting of the debates, discoveries, and events surrounding present-day cosmological theories. Yet the detailed mathematical concepts involved will not be easily understood by the general reader. Recommended primarily for academic libraries, though comprehensive history of science collections in public libraries would benefit as well.Gloria Maxwell, Kansas City P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691005461
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 2/22/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 488
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 Background: From Einstein to Hubble 3
Ch. 2 Lemaitre's Fireworks Universe 22
Ch. 3 Gamow's Big Bang 80
Ch. 4 The Steady-State Alternative 142
Ch. 5 Creation and Controversy 202
Ch. 6 The Universe Observed 269
Ch. 7 From Controversy to Marginalization 318
Ch. 8 Epilogue: Dynamics of a Controversy 389
Appendix I A Cosmological Chronology, 1917-1971 397
Appendix II Technical Glossary 400
Notes 403
Bibliography 447
Index 487
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