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Physics > History and Philosophy of Physics

Title: Einstein's cosmic model of 1931 revisited: an analysis and translation of a forgotten model of the universe

Abstract: We present a translation and analysis of a cosmic model published by Einstein in 1931. The paper, which is not widely known, features a model of a universe that undergoes an expansion followed by a contraction, quite different to his static model of 1917 or the monotonic Einstein-de Sitter model of 1932. The paper offers many insights into the cosmology of Albert Einstein in the light of the first evidence for an expanding universe, and we discuss his views of issues such as the curvature of space, the cosmological constant, the singularity and the timespan of the expansion. We argue that retrospective descriptions of this model as cyclic or periodic are not historically or mathematically accurate. We find that calculations in the paper of the matter density and radius of the universe contain a numerical error, a finding that is supported by writing on a blackboard used by Einstein during a lecture at Oxford University in May 1931. Our article concludes with a general discussion of his philosophy of cosmology.
Comments: Accepted for publication in the European Physical Journal (H). The article includes a first English translation of Einstein's 1931 SAW paper and the discovery of an error in Einstein's calculation of the matter density of the universe. 30 pages, 2 figures
Subjects: History and Philosophy of Physics (physics.hist-ph); Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (astro-ph.CO)
Cite as: arXiv:1312.2192 [physics.hist-ph]
  (or arXiv:1312.2192v2 [physics.hist-ph] for this version)

Submission history

From: Cormac O Raifeartaigh [view email]
[v1] Sun, 8 Dec 2013 11:11:55 GMT (651kb)
[v2] Fri, 17 Jan 2014 17:09:30 GMT (644kb)