Past and Future Universe
EVOLUTIONARY UNIVERSE-"We have reviewed the questions that dominated the thinking of cosmologists during the first half of this century: the conception of a four-dimensional space-time continuum, of curved space, of an expanding universe and of a cosmos which is either finite or infinite. Now we must consider the major present issue in cosmology: Is the universe in truth evolving, or is it in a steady state of equilibrium that has always existed and will go on through eternity? Most cosmolo-gists take the evolutionary view. —George Gamow"
STEADY-STATE UNIVERSE—"The theory of a steady-state universe leads to many startling conclusions: that the universe had no beginning and will have no end, that space as well as time is infinite, that matter is continually being created throughout space—to mention a few. Human nature being what it is, there has been a tendency to become involved in emotional attitudes toward these concepts, instead of confining the discussion to purely scientific criteria. If the writer, along with critics, has transgressed in this respect, he promises to give some redress in this article. The steady-state theory holds that the large-scale features of the universe do not change with time. Only the galaxies and clusters of galaxies change. —Fred Hoyle"
SCOTT OF ANTARCTICA—"Great Britain may well be satisfied with the information collected in the Antarctic by Capt. Robert F. Scott and his gallant companions. And what did Capt. Scott find after his memorable struggle up the glacier through the mountains? An enormous plateau at an elevation of about 9,000 feet, nearly level, smooth, and featureless, over which he traveled directly inland for over 200 miles, seeing no sign at his furthest point of any termination or alteration in character."
SMUGGLERS' INGENUITY-"Alcohol without a doubt is the article most often smuggled through the gates of Paris. A single man can carry quite a quantity of alcohol, and in quite a different sense from that usually applied to drunkards.
A smartly-dressed gentleman, under his spotless waistcoat and white shirt, carries an India-rubber plastron brimful of alcohol. True, his appearance is rather bulky, but then he can probably put that down to good living. I have known even an immaculate-looking tall hat to contain heavily taxed liquor. —By an officer of the Paris Customs House"
BEFORE ORIGIN—"Lorenz Oken and the author of 'Vestiges of Creation' have endeavored to prove that the different races of animals now existing are developments, not separate creations, and that life on our earth through myriads of ages gradually improved—developed— into its present diversified expanded perfections. Hugh Miller completely exploded this theory, so far as it related to all life commencing at a point, and developing upwards. Still, he admits, in his 'Footsteps of the Creator,' that successive creations of races exhibit developments, and so does Louis Agassiz, and thus they grant half the argument, at least, to those who believe in the gradual development of life from a mite up to a man."
GUANO MIRAGE—"Some time ago it was announced that a guano island, not laid down in any map, had been discovered by one of our merchant ships in the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. sloop-of-war Independence was ordered to take a peep at the Islands. Captain Mervien reports: 'Intense interest appeared to pervade all minds, fore and aft, as the ship neared the promised El Dorado of the mercantile and agricultural interests of our country. The delusion, however, was but transitory; a nearer view revealed to our astonished vision the whole islands covered with a deep green mantle of luxuriant vegetation, indicative certainly of the strength of the soil and heavy rains common in this locality, as also of the worthlessness of the deposit thereon as an article of commerce.'"
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SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN Digital
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