God's Equation: Einstein, Relativity, and the Expanding Universe
Amir D. Aczel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Are we on the verge of solving the riddle of creation using Einstein's "greatest blunder"?
In a work that is at once lucid, exhilarating and profound, renowned mathematician Dr. Amir Aczel, critically acclaimed author of Fermat's Last Theorem, takes us into the heart of science's greatest mystery.
In January 1998, astronomers found evidence that the cosmos is expanding at an ever-increasing rate. The way we perceive the universe was changed forever. The most compelling theory cosmologists could find to explain this phenomenon was Einstein's cosmological constant, a theory he conceived--and rejected---over eighty years ago.
Drawing on newly discovered letters of Einstein--many translated here for the first time--years of research, and interviews with prominent mathematicians, cosmologists, physicists, and astronomers, Aczel takes us on a fascinating journey into "the strange geometry of space-time," and into the mind of a genius. Here the unthinkable becomes real: an infinite, ever-expanding, ever-accelerating universe whose only absolute is the speed of light.
Awesome in scope, thrilling in detail, God's Equation is storytelling at its finest.
"Grossmann, Du musst mir helfen, sonst werd' ich verruckt!" (Grossmann, you must help me or else I'll go crazy!). Grossmann heeded the plea and began collaborating in earnest with Einstein. The result was a number of papers the two wrote on the problem of gravitation. These papers were another step in the direction of a general theory of relativity, but they fell short of what was needed for a complete understanding of the complicated phenomena they purported to describe. It was then that
group to his house. Soon, local carpenters were hard at work cutting trees, sawing wood, and preparing large wooden V-shaped supports, rest- <128 GOD'S EQUATION ing on strong wooden trestles. These were to hold the tube of the telescope at the correct angle to the horizon so that at the appointed time, seven stars could be seen along with the eclipsed Sun. The site for the telescope was right in front of the house given the team by Colonel Saboya. Huts were being built in the mud, as well as a
remains of a star of the same type as our Sun (which will, itself, become a white dwarf when it is through with its own nuclear fuels in another five billion years), begins to collect matter that falls into it from a nearby companion star, each star orbiting the other. Once the incoming matter inflates the mass of the white dwarf to about 1.4 times the mass of our Sun, a sudden explosion of unequaled violence occurs. In this type of supernova, the matter blown into space from the exploding white
(1885-1972), working at the Mount Wilson Observatory, had estimated the distance to the Magellanic Clouds using Henrietta Leavitt's method. Thus, when Hubble realized that the star he had photographed in Andromeda was a Cepheid, he got very excited. After studying the light curve of the star, Hubble was able to estimate the distance to Andromeda as 900,000 light years (although today we know it to be larger—2.2 million light years). This finding was enough to establish that Andromeda was a
development as well, as some biographers have speculated. In 1891, another defining event occurred which, like the excitement over the compass, deeply influenced Einstein. As the textbook for one of his classes, Einstein was assigned a book on Euclidean geometry. He got the book before school began and read it through with amazement. Einstein had begun to question the premises of Euclidean geometry. Within two decades, he developed a revolutionary theory based on the view that the space in which