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The Formative Years of RelativityThe History and Meaning of Einstein's Princeton Lectures$
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Jürgen Renn and Hanoch Gutfreund

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174631

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174631.001.0001

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The Genesis of Relativistic Cosmology

The Genesis of Relativistic Cosmology

(p.69) 5 The Genesis of Relativistic Cosmology
The Formative Years of Relativity

Hanoch Gutfreund

Jürgen Renn

Princeton University Press

This chapter highlights the background for the emergence of relativistic cosmology. A specific interpretational issue, which is treated in this context, is the role of Ernst Mach's principle and the first exploration of the cosmological consequences of general relativity. Here Einstein's main interlocutor was the Dutch astronomer Willem de Sitter. But during the years 1916 to 1918, Einstein also exchanged letters with the mathematicians Hermann Weyl and Felix Klein. This correspondence has been referred to as the Einstein–de Sitter–Weyl–Klein debate. This debate not only focused on specific cosmological models but also helped to clarify the meaning of such fundamental issues as coordinates and energy-momentum conservation in the theory. This chapter also discusses the implications of Hubble's discovery.

Keywords:   relativistic cosmology, Ernst Mach, Willem de Sitter, Hermann Weyl, Felix Klein, cosmological models, coordinates, energy-momentum conservation, general relativity, Edwin Hubble

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