An analysis of Einstein's 1931 paper featuring a dynamic model of the universe

February 19, 2014
Albert Einstein

A paper published in the European Physical Journal H provides the first English translation and an analysis of one of Albert Einstein's little-known papers, "On the cosmological problem of the general theory of relativity." Published in 1931, it features a forgotten model of the universe, while refuting Einstein's own earlier static model of 1917. In this paper, Einstein introduces a cosmic model in which the universe undergoes an expansion followed by a contraction. This interpretation contrasts with the monotonically expanding universe of the widely known Einstein-de Sitter model of 1932.

The authors, Cormac O'Raifeartaigh and Brendan McCann from the Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland, provide insights into Einstein's view of cosmology. At that time, the first pieces of evidence for an expanding universe emerged, among others, stemming from Hubble's observations of the expanding universe.

Einstein was keen to investigate whether a relativistic could account for the new observations, by removing the so-called cosmological constant introduced in his 1917 . Einstein sets the constant to zero. He then arrives at a model of a universe that first expands and then contracts. This model is also characterised by singularity-like behaviour at either end.

In this paper, the authors also discuss Einstein's view of issues such as the curvature of space and the timespan of the expansion, while also uncovering some anomalies in Einstein's calculations. For example, they highlight a numerical error in the calculation of the present radius and matter density of the universe. They also believe that Einstein's estimate of the age of the universe is based on a questionable calculation of Friedmann's analysis of a relativistic universe of spherical curvature and time-varying radius. Finally, they argue that Einstein's model is not periodic, contrary to what is often claimed.

Explore further: In Brief: Study backs Einstein notion on expanding universe

More information: C. O'Raifeartaigh and B. McCann (2014), "Einstein's cosmic model of 1931 revisited," European Physical Journal H, DOI: 10.1140/epjh/e2013-40038-x

Related Stories

Dark energy alternatives to Einstein are running out of room

January 9, 2013

(Phys.org)—Research by University of Arizona astronomy professor Rodger Thompson finds that a popular alternative to Albert Einstein's theory for the acceleration of the expansion of the universe does not fit newly obtained ...

Removing complexity layers from the universe's creation

July 26, 2013

Complicated statistical behaviour observed in complex systems such as early universe can often be understood if it is broken down into simpler ones. Two physicists, Petr Jizba (currently affiliated with the Czech Technical ...

Yale scientist sheds fresh light on Einstein

October 2, 2013

Albert Einstein's celebrated genius may be underappreciated, according to a new book by Yale physicist A. Douglas Stone: The father of relativity theory deserves far more credit than he gets for his insights into quantum ...

Recommended for you

Researchers build bacteria's photosynthetic engine

July 29, 2015

Nearly all life on Earth depends on photosynthesis, the conversion of light energy into chemical energy. Oxygen-producing plants and cyanobacteria perfected this process 2.7 billion years ago. But the first photosynthetic ...

Scientists unlock secrets of stars through aluminium

July 29, 2015

Physicists at the University of York have revealed a new understanding of nucleosynthesis in stars, providing insight into the role massive stars play in the evolution of the Milky Way and the origins of the Solar System.

Rogue wave theory to save ships

July 29, 2015

Physicists have found an explanation for rogue waves in the ocean and hope their theory will lead to devices to warn ships and save lives.

New blow for 'supersymmetry' physics theory

July 27, 2015

In a new blow for the futuristic "supersymmetry" theory of the universe's basic anatomy, experts reported fresh evidence Monday of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.