Discovering the Expanding Universe

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Overview

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 Lemaître'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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...[the authors] take you line-by-line through some of the key papers by Albert Einstein. It's wonderful to have such expert guides. Though their book claims to be for the interested layperson, it will prove most valuable to Physics Today readers." - Robert Kirshner, 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." - William R. Shea, Nuncius: Journal of the History of Science

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521514842
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2009
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet 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.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Foreword; 1. Introduction; 2. Cosmological concepts at the end of the Middle Ages; 3. Nebulae as a new astronomical phenomenon; 4. On the construction of the Heavens; 5. Island universes turn into astronomical facts: a universe of galaxies; 6. The early cosmology of Einstein and de Sitter; 7. The dynamical universe of Friedmann; 8. Redshifts: how to reconcile Slipher and de Sitter?; 9. Lemaître discovers the expanding universe; 10. Hubble's contribution of 1929; 11. The breakthrough for the expanding universe; 12. Hubble's anger about de Sitter; 13. Robertson and Tolman join the game; 14. The Einstein-de Sitter universe; 15. Are Sun and Earth older than the universe?; 16. In search of alternative tracks; 17. The seed for the Big Bang; 18. Summary and Postscript; Appendix; References; Index.

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