In the first chapters the author describes how our knowledge of the position of Earth in space and time has developed, thanks to the work of many generations of astronomers and physicists. He discusses how our position in the Galaxy was discovered, and how in 1929, Hubble uncovered the fact that the Universe is expanding, leading to the picture of the Big Bang. He then explains how astronomers have found that the laws of physics that were discovered here on Earth and in the Solar System (the laws of mechanics, gravity, atomic physics, electromagnetism, etc.) are valid throughout the Universe. This is illustrated by the fact that all matter in the Universe consists of atoms of the same chemical elements that we know on Earth. This unity is all the more surprising when one realizes that in the original Big Bang theory, different parts of the Universe could never have communicated with each other. It then is a mystery how they could have shared the same physical laws. This problem was solved by the introduction of the idea of inflation, a phase of extremely rapid expansion of the Universe during the first fraction of a second following the Big Bang. The author explains how the unity of the Universe finds its origin in the Big Bang prior to inflation. The book addresses the many fundamental questions about the Universe and its contents from the perspective of the Big Bang: the formation of structure in the Universe, the questions of the mysterious dark matter and dark energy, the possibilities of other Universes (the Multiverse) and of the existence of intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe.
The Historical Development of Two Theories of the Universe
Author: Helge Kragh
Publisher: Princeton University Press
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 Lemaître 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.
Recent breakthroughs in measuring the age of the universe with the Hubble Space Telescope are the subject of this book, written by a science writer who was a research astronomer involved in the discoveries. Illustrations.
Is belief in God a reasonable option in the light of modern cosmology? Or have religious beliefs been ruled out by science? Or should we rethink the connection between these two human enterprises - perhaps even considering them as unrelated?
This resource answers the age old cosmology debate and includes within its pages: a brief history of scientific cosmology; the big bang model, including origins of stars, planets, and life; the creation model, including the views of Moses and Jesus; other cosmological models, including future trends; the errors in evolutionary time scales, time indicators, and ages; appendixes and comprehensive index. In modern times, the Bible has become increasingly disconnected from most Christians' understanding of the real world. Cosmology - the way we think about the universe - has come to be totally dominated by secular beliefs, such as the big bang.
Two world-renowned scientists present an audacious new vision of the cosmos that “steals the thunder from the Big Bang theory.” —Wall Street Journal The Big Bang theory—widely regarded as the leading explanation for the origin of the universe—posits that space and time sprang into being about 14 billion years ago in a hot, expanding fireball of nearly infinite density. Over the last three decades the theory has been repeatedly revised to address such issues as how galaxies and stars first formed and why the expansion of the universe is speeding up today. Furthermore, an explanation has yet to be found for what caused the Big Bang in the first place. In Endless Universe, Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok, both distinguished theoretical physicists, present a bold new cosmology. Steinhardt and Turok “contend that what we think of as the moment of creation was simply part of an infinite cycle of titanic collisions between our universe and a parallel world” (Discover). They recount the remarkable developments in astronomy, particle physics, and superstring theory that form the basis for their groundbreaking “Cyclic Universe” theory. According to this theory, the Big Bang was not the beginning of time but the bridge to a past filled with endlessly repeating cycles of evolution, each accompanied by the creation of new matter and the formation of new galaxies, stars, and planets. Endless Universe provides answers to longstanding problems with the Big Bang model, while offering a provocative new view of both the past and the future of the cosmos. It is a “theory that could solve the cosmic mystery” (USA Today).
This book follows the evolutionary trail all the way from the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago to conscious life today. It is an accessible introductory book written for the interested layperson – anyone interested in the ‘big picture’ coming from modern science. It covers a wide range of topics including the origin and evolution of our universe, the nature and origin of life, the evolution of life including questions of birth and death, the evolution of cognition, the nature of consciousness, the possibility of extraterrestrial life and the future of the universe. The book is written in a narrative style, as these topics are all parts of a single story. It concludes with a discussion on the nature and future of science.
"The Origin of the Universe" brings the elegance of creation to the grasp of the reader using simple language, over 78 illustrations and many examples. No math skills are required. Easy to follow mathematical proofs of key points are presented in the Appendix. Complex math is excluded from the main text. "The Origin of the Universe" explores: Why we have something rather than nothing The state of nothing How something can be created from nothing without violating the law of conservation of energy The trigger mechanism of the Big Bang explosion The creation of mass and gravity The creation of the elements, the galaxies and the solar system The progression of matter up to the starting point of life A development path for the eye And much more