Cosmology and the Engineer

Cosmology Before Einstein

Discoveries in observational astronomy would provide the basis for the revolution in cosmology that took place after 1900. It should nevertheless be noted that the study of cosmology existed before this time, largely as the study of general questions about the universe as a whole. These investigations reduced, in some cases, to speculative intellectual exercises, but they prepared the way for new mathematical descriptions of the universe and would become important when the revolutionary observational findings of the 1920s were in place. It was out of this speculative, older tradition that analysis of the universe based on Einstein's general theory of relativity emerged, and the latter would eventually provide the theoretical framework for all of modern work in cosmology. It was tacitly assumed throughout history that physical space and the universe itself are described by Euclidean geometry. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, astronomers questioned this assumption...