Six decades of cosmology (Vol. 49, No. 3)


The personal memories of Jayant Narlikar point to the need for restoring cosmology as the flagship of astronomy.

"Cosmologists are often wrong but never in doubt,” Russian physicist Lev Landau once said. In the early days, astronomers began by observing and modelling stars in different stages of evolution and comparing their findings with theoretical predictions. Stellar modelling uses well-tested physics, with concepts such as hydrostatic equilibrium, law of gravitation, thermodynamics, nuclear reactions etc. Yet in contrast, cosmology is based on a large number of untested physical assumptions, like nonbaryonic dark matter and dark energy whose physics has no proven link with the rest of physics. In a paper published recently, the author shares his personal reminiscences of the evolution of the subject of cosmology over six decades. He tells of the increase in our confidence in the standard model of cosmology to the extent that it has become a dogma. The German physicist Max Born said many years ago: "Modern cosmology has strayed from the sound empirical road to a wilderness where statements can be made without fear of observational check...”. The author feels that those comments apply very well to the present state of cosmology.

J. V.Narlikar , The evolution of modern cosmology as seen through a personal walk across six decades, Eur. Phys. J. H 43, 43 (2018)