How did Edwin Hubble change the world?

2 Answers
Jun 13, 2017

By introducing the concept of an expanding Universe.


Before Edwin Hubble came up with his theory that the Universe is expanding (supported by the red-shift of galaxies), the steady state theory was in vogue, stating that the Universe was of constant size.
Even Einstein used the cosmological constant at some point of time, which he admitted later was a faux pas. It changed the foundation of cosmology.

Jun 18, 2017

Edwin Hubble changed the theories of the universe and affected the philosophy of science.


Before Edwin Hubble's discovery of the expansion of the universe scientists believed in the steady state theory of the universe. This theory stated that the universe had always existed in its present state. This was the foundation of the philosophy of science known as material realism.

Material realism was expressed by Carl Sagan in his famous introduction to the Cosmos " The cosmos is all that there is was or ever will be." This philosophy of science taught that the universe was eternal and self existent. This meant that natural cause, matter and energy are all that exists, there is nothing outside of the universe.

After Edwin Hubble's discovery it became clear that the present universe had a beginning and was not eternal. This called into question the philosophy of material realism.

The next question was where did the present universe come from. The theories of the Big Bang and Big Crush were formulated to answer that question. The Big Bang theory has good supporting evidence, that the present universe started from a singularity. The Big Crush theory has been crushed by recent evidence (1998) that the rate of the expansion of the universe is speeding up.

Hubble's discovery of the red shift created a major shift in the theories and philosophies of science. The idea of a static eternal universe was destroyed. The philosophy of material realism suffered a seismic shift, because of empirical evidence that supports the idea of an open universe. The philosophy of science must deal with the possibility that something exists outside of natural cause, matter and energy.