People built models of the universe for centuries with technological advancements helping them to improve and develop their models through scientific investigation. Last week, researchers said that they have evidence of ‘cosmic inflation‘ which is based on the idea that the universe grew rapidly as soon as the Big Bang took place and left ripples in patterns of light, visible in the very far reaches of the universe.
Einstein made immense contributions to cosmology. In a paper published in 1917, he suggested the idea of a “cosmological constant”, which supposed that the universe was static and unchanging. However, he discarded this notion when it was observed by scientists like Hubble that the universe was expanding.
In 1931, he published a paper entitled “On the cosmological problem of the general theory of relativity”, which would have remained relatively unknown had it not been for the work of two researchers, Cormac O’Raifeartaigh and Brendan McCann from the Waterford Institute of Technology.
In their paper “Einstein’s cosmic model of 1931 revisited: an analysis and translation of a forgotten model of the universe” published in Springer’s EPJ H in February 2014, O’Raifeartaigh and McCann provide the first English translation and an analysis of Einstein’s paper published in 1931, which features a forgotten model of the universe, while refuting his own earlier static model of 1917. Einstein was keen to investigate whether a relativistic model could account for the new observations by removing the so-called cosmological constant introduced in his 1917 cosmological model. Einstein constructs a cosmic model in which the universe undergoes an expansion followed by a contraction. This interpretation contrasts with the widely known 1932 Einstein-de Sitter model of the monotonically expanding universe.
The Waterford Institute of Technology researchers argue that Einstein’s model is not periodic, contrary to what is often claimed.