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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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Cosmological Models

Cosmological Models

(p.36) Chapter Three Cosmological Models
Cosmology's Century

P. J. E. Peebles

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines two spatially homogenous world pictures which captured most of the attention in cosmology from the late 1940s through the mid-1960s: an evolving universe and a universe in a statistically steady state. The evolving model describes expansion according to general relativity from an exceedingly dense early condition often termed the big bang. In the big bang model, a straightforward extrapolation of its evolution back in time ends at a singularity: a manifest failure of standard general relativity. In the alternative world picture, the continual creation of matter keeps the near-homogeneously expanding universe in a steady state. It lacked Albert Einstein's endorsement, but skillful proponents kept the picture visible in England though generally less so at other research centers. The steady-state cosmology is much more predictive than the big bang, which might have been expected to have added more than it did to general interest in the model.

Keywords:   cosmology, evolving universe, general relativity, big bang, singularity, matter, steady-state cosmology, expanding universe

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