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Worlds Without EndThe Many Lives of the Multiverse$
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Mary-Jane Rubenstein

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156622

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156622.001.0001

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Bangs, Bubbles, and Branes

Bangs, Bubbles, and Branes

Atomists Versus Stoics, Take Two

(p.142) 5 Bangs, Bubbles, and Branes
Worlds Without End

Mary-Jane Rubenstein

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the development of the Big Bang theory and its impact on subsequent cosmological theories. The twentieth century began with the notion of a single, static, infinite world; but this theory was largely dismantled by Edward Hubble’s discovery of spiral nebulae that turned out to be galaxies in their own right, refuting the singular cosmos theory. It was not long before Hubble observed that the universe is expanding. The possibility of an expanding universe originated from Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, although he was initially convinced that the universe remained constant. Georges Lemaitre, on the other hand, concluded that the universe appeared to have burst from a tiny ball of nuclear fluid he called the “Primeval Atom.” Thus began the conception of the Big Bang as the beginning of the universe, and the Big Crunch as its possible ending fate. Other alternative theories include the Big Whimper, the ekpyrotic scenario, and the string theory.

Keywords:   Big Bang theory, Edward Hubble, Albert Einstein, general relativity, Georges Lemaitre, Primeval Atom, Big Crunch, Big Whimper, ekpyrotic scenario, string theory

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