Friday, November 11, 2011

The real father of the big bang

Edwin Hubble is widely credited with discovering the expansion of the universe. But Georges Lemaître published both the theory and the data a couple of years ahead of Hubble, and I argue in my book that he should be credited.

Since then, the UK Nature journal has published this:
Amateur historians and astronomers are buzzing with intrigue over allegations that the legendary US astronomer Edwin Hubble, after whom NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is named, may have actively censored the work of a competitor to advance his own career.
and this:
In all fairness, it seems that the 'Hubble constant' ought to be called the 'Lemaître constant' after Belgian physicist Georges Lemaître, who reported findings akin to Hubble's — and with a deeper theoretical backing — two years earlier.
Now, Nature claims to have the last word on the subjects, and this week's issue says:
The charges against Hubble certainly warranted examination. In 1927, the Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaître published a French-language paper in the Annales de la Société Scientifique de Bruxelles that laid out the essentials of a picture of galaxies expanding away from one another, and derived an expansion parameter on the basis of then-recent observations. In 1929, Hubble independently put forward and confirmed the same idea, and the parameter later became known as the Hubble constant. In 1931, Lemaître's paper was translated into English and published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, but most English speakers probably learned of Hubble's contribution before they learned of Lemaître's.

Suspicions of foul play emerged earlier this year, when amateur historians noticed that the derivation of the expansion constant is missing from the English translation of Lemaître's work. ... The case against Hubble is closed,...
The article suggests that this is a matter for professional historians, not amateurs, and we should all accept that the professionals say.

But this says that Hubble's 1929 discovered the expansion "independently", but that contradicts the testimony of his assistant. A 1965 interview with Dr. Milton Humason says:
The velocity-distance relationship started after one of the IAU meetings, I think it was held in Holland. And Dr. Hubble came home rather excited about the fact that two or three scientists over there, astronomers, had suggested that the fainter the nebulae were the more distant they were and the larger the red shifts would be. And he talked to me and asked me if I would try and check that out. Well, our trouble was that our spectrographs were extremely slow -- that was back in about 1927 or ‘28.
Hubble ddid not even believe in the explansion, and published papers in 1936 and 1937 doubting it. Einstein also doubted it for many years.

Brian Greene's new book credits Lemaitre as being the father of the big bang. His TV show this week talked a lot about the big bang and Einstein, but did not mention Hubble or Lemaitre. But the previous show, last week, said:
BRIAN GREENE: But about a dozen years later, the astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered the universe is not static. It's expanding due to the explosive force of the Big Bang, 14-billion years ago.

That meant Einstein's original equations no longer had to be altered, and so, suddenly, the need for a cosmological constant went right out the window.
No, Hubble did not discover that. Lemaitre did.

I also credited Lemaitre over Hubble in Nov 2007 and April 2010.

My theory is that leftist scientists love to talk about the discovery of the universe's expansion because it shows that nothing is permanent, that Man is insignificant, and that Earth has a non-Biblical origin. In short, it undermines religion. It bugs them to no end that the expansion was really discovered by a conservative Catholic priest who saw no conflict between the expansion and religion. Every time you hear someone crediting Einstein for relativity or Hubble for the big bang, there is an underlying ideological purpose.

No comments:

Post a Comment