Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Einstein Almost Proposed Big Bang Theory Alternative

The 1931 manuscript, recently discovered at Israel’s Hebrew University, was soon corrected by the German-born theoretical physicist

By: Graham Sigurdson

Published: March 11th, 2014 in Health » Israel

In a recently discovered manuscript at Hebrew University’s Albert Einstein Archives, many were shocked to learn that Einstein once proposed that the Big Bang Theory, rather than being a single event, was instead a steadily and eternally expanding one.

The manuscript had reportedly sat unnoticed since 1931.

The Big Bang Theory, which emerged in the 1920’s, was initially opposed by Einstein, with his manuscript titled “About the Cosmological Problem.” The paper, which may have been written in California – as it is written on American notepaper – describes his theory, writing that “For the density to remain constant new particles of matter must be continually formed.”

According to Cormac O’Raifeartaigh, a physicist at the Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland, Einstein quickly abandoned the idea. O’Raifeartaigh, who recognized what the manuscript addressed, was scrapped when Einstein realized he had made a mistake in his calculations, corrected them – a number of different colored inks are on the paper, crossing out bits of information – and likely never returned to the subject.

Surprisingly, the manuscript had long been available at the Archives website, but had been misidentified as the first draft of a different paper. O’Raifeartaigh researched the paper with a team of colleagues and posted their findings, which were then put in the magazine Nature.

Cosmologist James Peebles of Princeton University was quoted as saying that the manuscript was likely “a rough draft commenced with excitement over a neat idea and soon abandoned as the author realized he was fooling himself.”

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