Monday, 3 March 2014

Einstein's Lost Theory

Einstein's Lost Theory Uncovered - Scientific American

Any interesting draft paper has been discovered which throws considerable light on both Albert Einstein's thinking and on his personal integrity in scientific matter. The paper written in German was apparently 'hidden' in full public view at the Albert Einstein Archives in Jerusalem and may be seen here. It had been wrongly classified as the draft of another paper.

Almost any religious apologist worth his salt will have thrown out the claim that Albert Einstein believed in God, quoting his "God doesn't play dice with the Universe" argument against quantum theory. This is usually deployed when the argument is going badly and the only ploy left is to try to make their detractor look like they're just too stupid to see the sense of the argument. If Einstein, one of the most intelligent and scientifically literate of people, believed in God, then who are you to disagree?

Einstein, of course, was always at pains to point out that by 'God' he meant nature - the God of Spinoza; the forces which produce the universe as we see it - but religious apologists are never slow to 'mistake' a metaphor for a statement of fact, unless it comes to defending an absurd statement of 'fact' in the Bible or the Qur'an, in which case they are clearly metaphors, often for something too obscure and ineffable for mere humans to understand. God didn't always want to be understood so he wrote a book to be misunderstood in, apparently.

What Einstein was clearly doing here was expressing his personal distaste for a theory which appeared to throw a large dose of randomness into the mix. Quantum theory appeared to say that we shouldn't expect the Universe to be predictable, with clear causality and that events can occur without cause. Einstein's Universe was unchanging and ran on basic rules which, with sufficient diligence and observation, couples with the right analysis, we should be capable of discovering.

We present a translation and analysis of an unpublished manuscript by Albert Einstein in which he explored a 'steady-state' model of the universe. The manuscript, which appears to have been written in early 1931, demonstrates that Einstein once considered an expanding cosmos in which the mean density of matter is maintained constant by a continuous formation of matter from empty space. This model is very different to previously known Einsteinian models of the cosmos (both static and dynamic) but anticipates the later steady-state cosmology of Hoyle, Bondi and Gold in some ways. We find that Einsteins steady-state model contains a fundamental flaw and suggest that it was discarded for this reason. We also suggest that he declined to try again because he realised that a successful steady-state model would require an amendment to the field equations. The abandoned model is of historical significance because it reveals that Einstein debated between steady-state and evolving models of the cosmos decades before a similar debate took place in the cosmological community.

Cormac O Raifeartaigh, Brendan McCann, Werner Nahm, Simon Mitton;
A steady-state model of the universe by Albert Einstein; arXiv:1402.0132v2 [physics.hist-ph]

But, both Einstein's Relativity, and quantum theory, seemed to be showing that the Universe not only had a randomness at the very small scale but that it actually began as a very small random event. In a way, Einstein was anticipating the still unresolved conflicts between Relativity and Quantum Mechanics which has recently caused Stephen Hawking to revise his thinking on black holes.

[The manuscript was probably] a rough draft commenced with excitement over a neat idea and soon abandoned as the author realized he was fooling himself.

James Peebles, cosmologist.
Princeton University, New Jersey, USA
The paper was written in 1931, apparently during a visit to California, and appears to have been written quite quickly, as though following a sudden flash of insight, only to be revised later.

By 1931, the Big Bang appeared to have been confirmed by Edwin Hubble's discovery of the Red Shift in the 1920's but Einstein still seemed to be searching for ways around this and had hit on an idea which Fred Hoyle also proposed almost 20 years later - that the Universe was expanding but it had always been expanding and would continue to expand forever - the so-called steady state theory which only required some slight tweaking of Einstein's Relativity equation to remain consistent with Relativity.

Einstein appeared to have been toying with this idea in this draft paper then, as he thought it through, he realised he had made errors in the maths and that it wouldn't work. At any rate, he abandoned the idea, never completed the paper and never mentioned the idea again.

Hoyle's theory was eventually falsified by astronomical observation but not before he had made a spectacle of himself by publically trying to taunt a young Stephen Hawking by asking him why the background radiation required by the Big Bang theory had not been found - "because it's not there perhaps? Hmmm?" - just before it was discovered.

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5 comments :

  1. I'm still trying to get to grips with the Multiverse model and so far coming up rather confused. In the meantime, we in the logic-based community are at a slight disadvantage to the loonies when it comes to debate. After all, they just keep repeating the same thing over and over and over. We have actual theories and models and research to grapple with.

    I've read all your recent articles and shared most of them on Google Plus. But I can't for some reason comment from my cellphone on your blog and I read almost everything other people write from my cellphone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sorry you're having a problem with your cellphone but I don't know what the answer is. I use a perfectly normal Blogger template and I can see a comment box on the preview on my laptop. I don't have a mobile I can see the blog on myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not just yours, it gives my problems with most people's blogs. I can't even respond on my own blog from my phone. On my reading list there are just three people whose blogs, for some reason, allow me to respond.

      Delete
  3. Do you mean Bible apologists use untruthful arguments? Yeah, that I would call a big news, Rosa! ;o)

    Never heard of that before.

    Talking of Albert Einstein, read more about what he believed here: http://www.livescience.com/23758-einstein-god-letter-auction.html .

    Some quotes from that article: Einstein writes, "For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.

    In a March 24, 1954 letter, he is quoted as writing, "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

    However, in the letter to Gutkind, Einstein wrote the word God was "nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."

    SO MY MESSAGE TO YOU, ROSA, IS: I could hardly say that better myself.

    ReplyDelete

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