Is the Universe Expanding?: An Historical and Philosophical Perspective for Cosmologists Starting Anew
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. Michael S. Pritchard
Dr. Sylvia Culp
Dr. Quentin Smith
Masters Thesis-Open Access
This study addresses the problem of how scientists ought to go about resolving the current crisis in big bang cosmology. Although this problem can be addressed by scientists themselves at the level of their own practice, this study addresses it at the meta-level by using the resources offered by philosophy of science.
There are two ways to resolve the current crisis. Either cosmologists can continue working on big bang theory or they can start anew. For those who choose to start anew, this study argues it would be a mistake for them to assume any new cosmological theory would have to explain expansion rather than nonexpansion of the universe. This does not mean expansion theory should be excluded or that nonexpansion theory is to be preferred. Rather, this means that cosmologists may have another option in addition to expansion theory and that nonexpansion theory should not be automatically excluded.
Over a century of relevant scientific developments as well as the reasons involving spectral redshifts used to change from static to expansion cosmological theory in the 1930s is discussed. In addition, eight redshift theories are examined.
Vlosak, David A., "Is the Universe Expanding?: An Historical and Philosophical Perspective for Cosmologists Starting Anew" (1996). Masters Theses. 3474.