Proceedings

EPJ H Highlight - Six decades of cosmology

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Cosmos. Credit: Federico Beccari via unplash https://unsplash.com/photos/ L8126OwlroY.

The personal memories of Jayant Narlikar point to the need for restoring cosmology as the flagship of astronomy

"Cosmologists are often wrong but never in doubt”, Russian physicist Lev Landau once said . In the early days, astronomers began by observing and modelling stars in different stages of evolution and comparing their findings with theoretical predictions. Stellar modelling uses well-tested physics, with concepts such as hydrostatic equilibrium, law of gravitation, thermodynamics, nuclear reactions etc. Yet in contrast, cosmology is based on a large number of untested physical assumptions, like nonbaryonic dark matter and dark energy whose physics has no proven link with the rest of physics. In a recent paper published in EPJ H, Jayant V. Narlikar, professor emeritus at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, India, shares his personal reminiscences of the evolution of the subject of cosmology over six decades. He tells of the increase in our confidence in the standard model of cosmology to the extent that it has become a dogma.

Narlikar first describes cosmological research in the 60s and 70s and explains how it covered key areas, including the Wheeler-Feynman theory relating the local electromagnetic arrow of time to the cosmological one, singularity in quantum cosmology and the observational tests of discrete source populations in different models of the expanding universe. In the subsequent tests to validate theories, one key discovery - cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) - in the mid-sixties changed physicists’ perspective of the big bang.

However, today's cosmologists appear to be caught in a range of speculations in their attempts to show that the big bang model is correct as opposed to any alternative model. The author discusses how the well-accepted standard model, the so-called standard big bang cosmology (SBBC) does not have independent observational support for its basic assumptions like the non-baryonic dark matter, inflation and dark energy. Nor does it have an established theoretical base. The German physicist Max Born said many years ago: "Modern cosmology has strayed from the sound empirical road to a wilderness where statements can be made without fear of observational check..." Narlikar feels that those comments apply very well to the present state of cosmology.

“The Evolution of Modern Cosmology As Seen through a Personal Walk Across Six Decades” by J. V.Narlikar (2018), European Physical Journal H, DOI 10.1140/epjh/e2017-80048-5

As Editors of the volume 108 of EPJ Web of Conferences, we ask you personally to accept our deep gratitude. It was a great favour to work with you and the EPJ Web of Conferences team on all stages involved in the publication of the post-processed Proceedings of MMCP 2015. We have been very satisfied with your courteous consideration of every our demand, without exception, with your contribution to finding the most convenient outcomes. Your determination to speed up the publishing process is highly appreciated.

George Adam, JINR Dubna, Russia
Michal Hnatic, Institute of Experimental Physics, Slovak Republic
Ján Buša, Technical University of Kosice, Slovak Republic
Co-editors of MMCP 2015, EPJ Web of Conferences vol. 108, 2016

ISSN: 2100-014X (Electronic Edition)

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