Thursday, September 13, 2018

Joint Hubble Lemaitre credit is a bad idea

I mentioned renaming the Hubble Law, as a way to correct history, but it appears that they have made the matter worse.

The respected science historian Helge Kragh writes:
The Hubble law, widely considered the first observational basis for the expansion of the universe, may in the future be known as the Hubble-Lema\^itre law. This is what the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union recommended at its recent meeting in Vienna. However, the resolution in favour of a renamed law is problematic in so far as concerns its arguments based on the history of cosmology in the relevant period from about 1927 to the early 1930s. A critical examination of the resolution reveals flaws of a non-trivial nature. The purpose of this note is to highlight these problems and to provide a better historically informed background for the voting among the union's members, which in a few months' time will result in either a confirmation or a rejection of the decision made by the General Assembly.
He notes:
Until the mid-1940s no astronomer or physicist seems to have clearly identified Hubble as the discoverer of the cosmic expansion. Indeed, when Hubble went into his grave in 1953 he was happily unaware that he had discovered the expansion of the universe.
He says the cited evidence that Hubble met with Lemaitre is wrong. Furthermore, there are really two discoveries being confused -- the cosmic expansion and the empirical redshift-distance law. Hubble had a role in the latter, but not the former.


  1. Helge Kragh also writes (arXiv 1706.00726, p. 22):

    ``the big bang can be approached asymptotically but never reached, somewhat in analogy to the concept of zero absolute temperature ... Conceptually appealing as the idea may seem, most physicists consider it nothing but a formal trick. They maintain that there was an original big bang approximately 14 billion years ago.''

    One then would have to also say that most physicists are illiterate in distinguishing the basic issue of the limiting value vs. the actual function values.


    But apart from it all, how about the law of the meaninglessness of very large numbers? Why can we say that it does not apply here? because the actual observation that is the CMBR goes long enough back?


    Also, the difference between the concrete redshift with the supposed ``distance'' itself can be subject to multiple interpretations.


    Funny how people look so askance at the more sensible idea that everything you see comes with a _plenum_ (and just that, nothing more than that) for consciousness/soul, and instead entertain the ``creator'' soul. Some of the Indian writings also _seemingly_ declare: Initially, there was just one consciousness and nothing else. It got ``bored'' (opposite of Sanskrit ``ramate''). So, it created the universe.

    I think the whole trouble here is far more mundane. People don't understand the concept of time in the world they see here and now (and ditto, for consciousness/life/soul). Therefore, there would be possibilities to make several permutations/combinations of the un-understood, and spin yarns out of the latter. Happy going.

    PS: No, personally, I wouldn't mind it if they give credit to Lemaitre. It's a non-issue to my mind. The real issues are what were indicated in the last paragraph.

    1. The big bang is not strictly science given that we hit a wall seeing into the past. Beyond that wall is speculation and extrapolation of existing formulas.

      Eastern religion seems to understand the connectedness of the universe but falls into the "death instinct" of primary narcissism with boundary confusion. However, there is real boundary confusion but it's an animate force directing things and it seems lower dimensional rather than higher dimensional.

    2. I did not get to see this blog for the last couple of days or so from Pune, India; I will figure out the more recent happenstances here _after_ more than a couple of days. If you would be so kind as to permit me.