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Introduction

  • Sownak Bose
Chapter
Part of the Springer Theses book series (Springer Theses)

Abstract

If one describes cosmology as the study of the Universe – its origin, evolution and eventual fate – the conception of this subject can probably be traced back to the earliest annals of human history. Oft-repeated fundamental questions of cosmology such as “Why are we here?” or “How does the Universe work?” put an almost metaphysical spin on what has, over time, become a precision science. It is perhaps due to its dual nature – treading a fine line between science and philosophy – that cosmology has become a subject that has fascinated mankind for millennia. Starting with early records in the Vedic Rigveda (ca. 12th century BCE) that describe the Universe as a ‘cosmic egg’, cycling eternally between periods of expansion and collapse, shifting to the Ptolemaic view (2nd century CE) of an Earth-centred universe, early cosmological models have ranged from themes of the theological to the anthropocentric. The evolution of cosmology from a speculative enterprise to a scientific discipline was made possible through the increasing availability of astronomical data.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard–Smithsonian Center for AstrophysicsCambridgeUSA

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