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Space Science

Historians Rediscover Einstein's Forgotten Model of the Universe 35

Posted by samzenpus
from the rough-draft dept.
KentuckyFC writes In 1931, after a 3- month visit to the U.S., Einstein penned a little known paper that attempted to show how his theory of general relativity could account for some of the latest scientific evidence. In particular, Einstein had met Edwin Hubble during his trip and so was aware of the latter's data indicating that the universe must be expanding. The resulting model is of a universe that expands and then contracts with a singularity at each end. In other words, Einstein was studying a universe that starts with a big bang and ends in a big crunch. What's extraordinary about the paper is that Einstein misspells Hubble's name throughout and makes a number of numerical errors in his calculations. That's probably because he wrote the paper in only 4 days, say the historians who have translated it into English for the time. This model was ultimately superseded by the Einstein-de Sitter model published the following year which improves on this in various ways and has since become the workhorse of modern cosmology.
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Historians Rediscover Einstein's Forgotten Model of the Universe

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @11:54PM (#47668647)

    He spelled Hubble as "Hubbel", german way. Hubbel [wiktionary.org] is also a german word meaning "bump".

  • by grouchomarxist (127479) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @11:56PM (#47668651)

    For some reason I don't find Einstein making a spelling mistake particularly extraordinary. Sounds like a particularly ordinary thing for an un-edited manuscript and a unusual name like "Hubble".

    If making a spelling mistake is extraordinary, then /.ers are making extraordinary posts all the time.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The name is only wrong relative to Hubble's own preference.

  • So he was working on zip-t?

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @12:12AM (#47668701)

    He misspelled the guy's name several times? Then he's an idiot, and any point he's trying to make is worthless.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You're worthless! You're all worthless! Only I have any worth around here! My ego is the biggest! I know it's true because I said so!

  • by jovius (974690) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @12:32AM (#47668759)

    This is basically a peer review of an unpublished draft paper by Einstein. It would have been interesting to have Einstein's response, but on the other hand Einstein-de Sitter model is the result of further dialogue.

  • Einstein-de Sitter (Score:5, Informative)

    by boristhespider (1678416) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @02:54AM (#47669087)

    The EdS model is not "the workhorse of modern cosmology", no matter what the author of this summary wants you to think. If any model could be described thus it would be the Friedman-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker model, which was already known (thanks to Friedman and Lemaitre who developed it in the 20s) by 1931. The EdS model is a specialisation of the FLRW to a universe containing pure pressureless matter, and an expansion is necessarily decelerating. As such not only can it not describe the early universe, when the existence of the CMB and the expansion of the universe together imply a period where the universe was instead dominated by radiation, nor the late universe, where observations imply that expansion is instead accelerating. EdS was used as an approximation to the late time universe until the 90s when it was obvious that it was in conflict with observation. It's sometimes still used for rough approximations thanks to the simple solutions one can find for linear perturbations, but those are only valid up to redshifts of approximately 1, and no later.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @06:26AM (#47669519)

      But the Friedman-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker model is based on the Einstein-DeSitter model:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E... [wikipedia.org]

      They're even credited and referred to multiple times.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Other way round, the EdS is a specialisation of the FLRW, and Friedman and Lemaitre both developed their models before 1932. These weren't the final forms of what we now call FLRW models -- otherwise it wouldn't be necessary to put the RW on the end -- but technically their models did precede the EdS, and are a superset. I have absolutely no idea how well that was appreciated at the time, mind you.

        Basically, an FLRW is a metric composed of completely homogeneous and isotropic 3-surfaces, all stacked one on

        • (That was my reply, from a computer that I wasn't going to log onto Slashdot through.)

          • Also, more to the direct point, in the article we've kind of moved away from discussing is this snippet [p5]:

            He [Einstein] notes that some theoretical attempts have already been made to explain the new observations:
            “Several investigators have attempted to account for the new facts by means of a spherical space, whose radius P is variable over time”.
            Once again, no specific citations are made, so we can only presume that Einstein is referring to works such as those by Lemaître, Eddington, de Sitter and Tolman (Lemaître 1927; Eddington 1930; de Sitter 1930a,b; Tolman 1929, 1930). Indeed, the only specific reference in the entire paper is to Alexander Friedmann’s model of 1922:
            “The first to try this approach, uninfluenced by observations, was A. Friedman, on whose calculations I base the following remarks”

            This not only provides a few references to papers that Einstein -- in 1931, writing before the derivation of the Einstein-de Sitter model -- may well have based his work on, including the Friedman and Lemaitre models that were proven in the 30s by Robertson and Walker (working independently) to be the unique dynamical, homogeneous and isotropic models, but also shows that Einstein was aware of the Fr

  • Someone must have thrown that one-click shopping patent in his in box.

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