Wednesday, July 10, 2013

1307.2289 (Virginia Trimble)

Anybody but Hubble!    [PDF]

Virginia Trimble
The recent literature of astronomy and cosmology has included a good many suggestions for "who first recognized the expansion of the universe?" with cases having been made for Lemaitre, Lundmark, de Sitter, Slipher, Shapley, Friedmann, Wirtz, and perhaps others. I touch on these but also mention others (some of whose names have not come down to us) who might reasonably be credited with some part of the basic idea, but conclude that "Hubble's Law" is the right choice ("because it was discovered by Lundmark" in accordance with Stigler's Law). Of course there are a couple of previously unsung heroes (Dose and Zoellner), and the discussion bears some traces of its origin as an after-dinner talk. The full context goes back to ideas from China and forward to the struggle to correct Hubble's erroneous value of his constant.
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