cosmology

The Universe goes beyond the Milky Way – thanks to Edwin Hubble

The Universe goes beyond the Milky Way – thanks to Edwin Hubble

On November 20, 1889, American astronomer Edwin Hubble was born. He is best known for his role in establishing the field of extragalactic astronomy and is generally regarded as one of the most important observational cosmologists of the 20th century. “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” – Edwin Hubble (1929) Edwin Hubble – Early Years Although Edwin Hubble earned pretty good grades in…
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Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

On November 9, 1934, American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, and successful author Carl Sagan was born. Carl Sagan is known for his popular science books and for the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which he narrated and co-wrote. “In science it often happens that scientists say, “You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,” and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that…
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Georges Lemaître and the Origins of the Big Bang Theory

Georges Lemaître and the Origins of the Big Bang Theory

On June 20, 1966, Belgian priest, astronomer and professor of physics Georges Lemaître passed away. He was the first person to propose the theory of the expansion of the Universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble, and is best known for his proposal of what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe. “We want a fireworks theory of evolution. The last two thousand million years are slow…
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Sir Arthur Eddington – The Man who Proved Einstein’s General Relativity

Sir Arthur Eddington – The Man who Proved Einstein’s General Relativity

On November 22, 1944, British astrophysicist and philosopher Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington passed away. He became famous for his 1919 solar eclipse expedition to Principe, where he conducted astrophysical experiments to give proof for Albert Einstein‘s seminal theory of general relativity. “At terrestrial temperatures matter has complex properties which are likely to prove most difficult to unravel; but it is reasonable to hope that in the not too distant future we shall be…
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Sir Fred Hoyle – How Big Bang Theory’s Most Eager Opponent was Responsible for its Popularity

Sir Fred Hoyle – How Big Bang Theory’s Most Eager Opponent was Responsible for its Popularity

On August 20, 2001, famous astronomer, mathematician, and author Sir Fred Hoyle passed away. The scientist was the first to coin the term “Big Bang” for the now prevailing theory of the early development of the universe in 1949, even though he happened to be a strong opponent of this theory. “We now come to the question of applying the observational tests to earlier theories. These theories were based on the hypothesis that all…
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Sir Hermann Bondi and the Steady State Theory

Sir Hermann Bondi and the Steady State Theory

On November 1, 1919, Anglo-Austrian mathematician and cosmologist Sir Herman Bondi was born. Bondi is best known for developing the Steady State theory of the universe with Fred Hoyle [4] and Thomas Gold as an alternative to the Big Bang theory. Their model was rendered obsolete, when in 1965, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson detected a background microwave radiation from all directions in space, as predicted by the “Big Bang” theory of creation…
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Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

When I read the news that Stephen Hawking passed away, I was rather sad. I grew up with a fascination for astronomy and cosmology. Trying to understand the fabrics and working of the universe, I devoured his popular books and articles and I am rather thankful. Amongst others it was foremost this unique physicist, who planted the seed for my decision to become a scientist myself. However, I abandoned physics after high…
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Alexander Friedmann and the Expanding Universe

Alexander Friedmann and the Expanding Universe

On June 16, 1888, Russian mathematician and physicist Alexander Friedmann was born. Friedmann is best known for his pioneering theory that the universe was expanding, governed by a set of equations he developed now known as the Friedmann equations. The Youth of a Mathematician Alexander Friedmann was born to the composer and ballet dancer Alexander Friedmann and the pianist Ludmila Ignatievna Voyachek. However the parents divorced when Alexander was nine years old,…
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Thomas Gold and the Steady-State Theory

Thomas Gold and the Steady-State Theory

On May 22, 1920, Austrian-born American astrophysicist Thomas Gold was born. Gold was one of three young Cambridge scientists who in the 1950s proposed the now mostly abandoned ‘steady state‘ hypothesis of the universe. His work crossed academic and scientific boundaries, into biophysics, astronomy, aerospace engineering, and geophysics. Thomas Gold and his family traveled through Europe a lot during his childhood, mostly because of the political situation. He was educated in Switzerland…
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Sir Roger Penrose and the Singularity

Sir Roger Penrose and the Singularity

On August 8, 1931, English mathematical physicist, mathematician and philosopher of science. Sir Roger Penrose was born. Penrose is known for his work in mathematical physics, in particular for his contributions to general relativity and cosmology. In 1969, with Stephen Hawking, Penrose proved that all matter within a black hole collapses to a singularity, a geometric point in space where mass is compressed to infinite density and zero volume. Youth and Education…
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