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Cosmology's CenturyAn Inside History of Our Modern Understanding of the Universe$
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P. J. E. Peebles

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196022

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196022.001.0001

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The Ways of Research

The Ways of Research

(p.343) Chapter Ten The Ways of Research
Cosmology's Century

P. J. E. Peebles

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores some lessons to be drawn from the historical development of cosmology, which may illustrate the nature of the enterprise of natural science. It is obvious but must be stated that research in the natural sciences depends on technology that was developed largely for other purposes. Technology enabled far more efficient measurements of galaxy redshifts. However, the technology that made this possible was not aimed at astronomy; it was adapted, in part for the purpose of obtaining enough data on galaxy positions and motions for a meaningful determination of the cosmic mean mass density. It is also obvious that the ways of research in science are the ways people tend to operate in general. A working condition that may be particularly relevant for cosmology is the tendency to take a personal interest in the results: how did our universe begin, what is it like now, and how might it end? The chapter then considers the social construction of science.

Keywords:   cosmology, natural science, research, technology, galaxy redshifts, astronomy, universe, science

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