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Origins of Big Bang Cosmology, 1917-1934

Jul. 22 - 13:30 - 2015

SPEAKER: Alexei Kojevnikov (University of British Columbia)

ABSTRACT: Once it was completed in 1915, general theory of relativity immediately provided an inspiration for cosmological theoretizing by a small community of scientists that included, a.o. Einstein, de Sitter, Friedman, Weyl, Lemaitre, Eddington, and Tolman. Their attempts to develop relativistic cosmology, however, suffered from the inevitably speculative character of crucial hypotheses. Observational data were lacking; and calculations were only possible in special cases defined by very restrictive simplifying assumptions. The talk will discuss the two most important cosmological hypotheses of this kind: the idea that the world can be non-stationary, i.e. changing with time (and the related controversy regarding the "cosmological constant") and the possibility of a cosmological singularity, the point in which the main parameters of the Universe turn into zero or infinity. Initially, both these assumptions met with strong resistance and were winning acceptance only gradually, after a significant delay.

VENUE: Physics Seminar Room - Physics Department

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