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The Big Bang Theory. Elizabeth Walsh. A Static Universe. In the early 1900s, the accepted view held was that the universe was static, which never changes; it has always been the same and always will Albert Einstein was one of the largest supporters of this belief

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The big bang theory

The Big Bang Theory

Elizabeth Walsh


A static universe
A Static Universe

  • In the early 1900s, the accepted view held was that the universe was static, which never changes; it has always been the same and always will

  • Albert Einstein was one of the largest supporters of this belief

  • When the idea of an expanding universe was proposed, Einstein spoke out: “This circumstance irritates me. To admit such possibilities seems senseless.”


Hubble s discoveries
Hubble’s Discoveries

  • However, not everyone was convinced that the universe was never changing

  • In 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble, at the Mt. Wilson Observatory in California, found that the velocity of a star appeared to be proportional to its distance from the Earth

    • The further the star from the Earth, the faster it appeared to move away from the Earth

    • This concluded that the universe is expanding and the galaxies are moving away at high speeds


Einstein s mistake
Einstein’s Mistake

  • Looking to gain a greater understanding of the universe, Einstein turned to his theory of general relativity- the current description of gravitation in physics

    • His surprising discovery found that the universe would have to be expanding and contracting

  • Hubble’s findings, paired with Einstein’s theory supported the idea of an expanding universe


Georges lemaitre
Georges Lemaitre

  • Georges Lemaitre was a Belgian Cosmologist and Catholic priest

  • Used Einstein’s laws of gravitation as a basis to claim that the universe must be expanding

  • He published a solution to equations of general relativity in 1927 in regards to the expanding universe

  • Stated that the expanding universe was not static – but without evidence he had little support

  • His model soon became known as the “Big Bang Theory”


The big bang theory1
The Big Bang Theory

  • Combination of two approaches to the universe: astronomical and cosmological

  • Describes the development of the universe prior to its current existence

  • All matter and space in the universe was originally compressed into a tiny dot, called the singularity, which expanded and all the matter instantly filled what is now our universe


Evidence for the big bang
Evidence for the Big Bang

  • Lemaitre used Hubble’s findings to support his theory

    • If the galaxies are currently moving forward, at one point they must have been all together

    • Once there was a primordial atom that contained all the matter in the universe

  • Lemaitre also used the concept of entropy - everything is moving towards greater disorder – to support his theory


Following the discovery
Following the Discovery

  • Much debate followed his theory - some supported the idea while others chose to take on a “steady state” theory

    • The universe is constantly expanding, but the average density remains constant

  • Debate ended when Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson found evidence for cosmic background radiation – residue of the big bang

  • The expansion of the universe is now viewed as one of the greatest scientific discoveries


Impact of the big bang theory
Impact of the Big Bang Theory

  • The Big Bang Theory sparked discussion and encouraged further studied into the universe

  • This theory is used as a way to estimate the age of the universe (within a large range)

  • It also lead to questions relating to the universe expansion – Will it expand forever? What happened before the big bang?


“Never in all the history of science has there been a period when new theories and hypotheses arose, flourished, and were abandoned in so quick succession as in the last fifteen or twenty years.”

  • Willem de Sitter, 1931


References
References period when new theories and hypotheses arose, flourished, and were abandoned in so quick succession as in the last fifteen or twenty years.”

  • Big Bang Theory is Introduced. (n.d.). PBS. Retrieved February 26, 2014, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/dp27bi.html

  • Georges Lemaitre, Father of the Big Bang. (n.d.). Georges Lemaitre, Father of the Big Bang. Retrieved February 26, 2014, from http://www.amnh.org/education/resources/rfl/web/essaybooks/cosmic/p_lemaitre.html

  • Strickland, J. (2008, June 18). How the Big Bang Theory Works. HowStuffWorks. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/astronomy-terms/big-bang-theory.htm

  • The Expanding Universe (Cosmology: Ideas). (n.d.). The Expanding Universe (Cosmology: Ideas). Retrieved February 26, 2014, from http://www.aip.org/history/cosmology/ideas/expanding.htm


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