The Cosmologist's Second: The Riddle of Time in Theories of the Universe (Anomalies : Alternatives to Contemporary Orthodoxies)
"What does a modern cosmologist mean when he says, "'he era of hadrons began 1/1000 of a second after the moment of singularity and lasted until 1/100 of a second'? What is the meaning of 'The First Three Minutes"? What clock is being used? How long is this cosmologist's second?
"In this concise account of modern cosmology, Rudnicki introduces the reader to the philosophical foundations of cosmological research and analyzes current astronomical concepts of time and space." - Back cover
This book attempts to portray the methodological bases and successes of contemporary physical cosmology, as well as of several past cosmologies. It is written for non-cosmologists and non-astronomers, yet I assume the reader is familiar enought with the fundamental concepts of astronomy to know the difference between a planet and a fixed star, or between a star cluster and a cluster of galaxies.
"The thoughts central to this book have occupied me for many years of my scientific activities, They derive from my own reflections, from books and articles, and from conversations with numerous scienctists from all over the world. Of many names, Iwould like to mention only one, that of the Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky, who sought to incorporate Goethean ideas into astronomy." - Preface
In The Cosmologist's Second, an English translation of the German book, Sekinde der Kosmologen, Konrad Rudnicki begins by defining cosmology: "the science concerned with the cosmos or universe", and presenting three logical possibilities:
- that the material universe explains itself;
- that the explanation lies outside the material universe;
- that no explanation is possible.
Rudnicki states that the first possibility has been falsified, leaving two fundamentally opposed groups of cosmologists. Before exploring the cosmology accepted by today's standard model, he devotes several chapters to describing the historical cosmologies of ancient India, Greece and Rome, and Copernicus. Only then does he consider the famous "First Three Minutes" of the standard model, and shows that it leaves many questions unanswered. He proceeds with the nature of time and singularity as related to cosmology.