Cosmology and Controversy
The Historical Development of Two Theories of the Universe
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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.
PrefaceCh. 1Background: From Einstein to Hubble3Ch. 2Lemaitre's Fireworks Universe22Ch. 3Gamow's Big Bang80Ch. 4The Steady-State Alternative142Ch. 5Creation and Controversy202Ch. 6The Universe Observed269Ch. 7From Controversy to Marginalization318Ch. 8Epilogue: Dynamics of a Controversy389Appendix IA Cosmological Chronology, 1917-1971397Appendix IITechnical Glossary400Notes403Bibliography447Index487
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