The Expanding Universe

The Expanding Universe

The Expanding Universe

The Expanding Universe

Excerpt

This book is an expanded version of a public lecture delivered at the meeting of the International Astronomical Union at Cambridge (Massachusetts) in September 1932. It also furnished the subject-matter of a series of three addresses which were broadcast in the United States shortly afterwards.

I deal with the view now tentatively held that the whole material universe of stars and galaxies of stars is dispersing, the galaxies scattering apart so as to occupy an ever-increasing volume. But I deal with it not as an end in itself. To take an analogy from detective fiction, it is the clue not the criminal. The "hidden hand " in my story is the cosmical constant. In Chapter IV we see that the investigation of the expanding universe falls into line with other methods of inquiry, so that we appear to be closing down on the capture of this most elusive constant of nature.

The subject is of especial interest, since it lies at the meeting point of astronomy, relativity and wave- mechanics. Any genuine progress will have important reactions on all three.

I am treating of very recent developments; and investigations both on the theoretical and on the observational side are still in progress which are likely to teach us much more and may modify our views. It might be argued that at this stage a book is pre-

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