Cosmology

What is steady-state theory?
Answered by Science Channel
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    Science Channel

  1. Many cosmological theories exist to try to explain where the universe came from. Of course, the big bang theory is the most widely accepted, but it has been criticized by some for its problems and limitations, so there have been a few alternative explanations over the years that have also attempted to explain the origin of the universe. One of these is steady-state theory.

    This cosmological theory involves a universe that's essentially uniform throughout time and space. Such a universe would possess a consistent density and would appear to expand due to the constant generation of new matter. Suggesting that the universe generates new matter at a rate proportional to the universe's growth reconciles the evidence that the universe is expanding.

    Steady-state theory was proposed by Fred Hoyle, Hermann Bondi and Tommy Gold in the late 1940s. They believed that new stars and galaxies would form to fill any empty space left behind when old stars and galaxies moved apart [source: American Institute of Physics]. At the time, many astronomers saw this theory as having several advantages over the big bang theory. Steady-state theory faced much political and religious debate around the world, however, and in the '50s, Pope Pious XII stated that the big bang theory affirmed the idea of a creator and was in line with Christian beliefs, leaving some to associate steady-state theory with atheism [source: American Institute of Physics]. While it was popular during the 1940s, this theory eventually fell out of favor due to new astronomical observations and theories in the second half of the 20th century, and today, few view steady-state theory as preferable to the big bang theory.

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