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  • The Big Crunch

    David Goodstein
    Job Market Context
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    According to modern cosmology, the Universe began about 10 or 15 billion years ago in an event known as the Big Bang. It has been expanding ever since. What we do not know is whether it will go on expanding forever. If the density of matter in the Universe is sufficiently large, gravitational forces will eventually cause the Universe to stop expanding, and then to start falling back in upon itself. If that happens, the Universe will end in a second cataclysmic event that cosmologists call The Big Crunch. I would like to present to you this morning a rather analogous theory of the history of science. According to this theory, modern science appeared on the scene, in Europe, almost 300 years ago, and in this country a little more than a century ago. In ...