The modern era of cosmology began with the publication of Einstein's general theory of relativity in 1915. The first experimental test of this theory was Eddington's famous expedition to measure the bending of light at a total solar eclipse in 1919. So famous is this experiment, and so dramatic was the impact on Einstein himself, that history tends not to recognize the controversy that surrounded the results at the time. In this paper I discuss the experiment in its historical and sociological context and show that it provides valuable lessons for modern astronomy and cosmology.
Historical Development of Modern Cosmology
- Pub Date:
- 21 pages, 6 figures, to appear in Proceedings of International School on "The Historical Development of Modern Cosmology", Valencia 2000, eds V.J. Martinez, V. Trimble &