Was Expanding Universe Discoverer Too Humble for Hubble?
Who first determined that the universe is expanding? Traditionally, the credit goes to the American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble, who in 1929 reported that other galaxies appeared to be speeding away from us. He also described a correlation between their distances from Earth and the velocities at which they were moving, which is determined by a cosmic expansion rate now known as the Hubble constant (H). Hubble, who died in 1953, never received a Nobel Prize for one of history’s most significant astronomical discoveries, but he remains a legend in his field and in 1983 was honored with a namesake telescope.
But Hubble wasn’t the first person to show that faraway galaxies recede faster than close ones. Two years earlier, the Belgian priest, astronomer and physicist Georges Lemaître published similar findings in an obscure French-language journal. He even proposed an expansion rate nearly identical to Hubble’s original constant. In fact, many experts agree that Hubble simply confirmed the laws tentatively proposed by Lemaître and presented them to a wider audience. So why do we use H rather than L to express how quickly the universe is growing? In short, when an English publication finally reprinted Lemaître’s paper in March 1931, key sections were lost in translation....
comments powered by Disqus
- Joan Baez, Sly Stone, Steve Martin, Ben E. King -- all honored by the Library of Congress
- StoryCorps to Launch Global Expansion With $1M TED Prize
- Hofstra Event Looks at Bush Presidency
- Did Israel steal uranium from a town in Pennsylvania in the 1960s?
- Sequel to Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom to be published next year
- OAH denounces anti-gay legislation signed by Indiana governor
- Emory’s Leslie Harris says we should remember the racist roots of American colleges as we think about what went wrong at OU and other schools
- Stanford historian looks to the U.S. Postal Service to map the boom and bust of 19th-century American West
- U.S. historian denounces Japanese scholars' statement over wartime sexual slavery
- Timothy V Johnson Named Head of Tamiment Library