Edwin Hubble Biography Pt.1

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Edwin Powell Hubble 

was born in the small town of Marshfield, Missouri, USA, on November 29th, 1889.  In 1898, His family moved to Chicago, where he attended high school.  Young Edwin Hubble had been fascinated by science and mysterious new worlds from an early age, having spent his childhood reading the works of Jules Verne (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, From the Earth to the Moon), and Henry Rider Haggard (King Solomon's Mines), Edwin Hubble was a fine student and an even better athlete, having broken the Illinois State high jump record.  When he attended University, Hubble continued to excel in sports such as basketball and boxing, but he also found time to study and earn an undergraduate degree in mathematics and astronomy.  

Edwin Hubble went to Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship, where he did not continue his studies in astronomy, but instead studied law. At this point in his life, he had not yet made up his mind about pursuing a scientific career.

In 1913, Hubble returned from England and was admitted to the bar, setting up a small practice in Louisville Kentucky; but it didn't take long for Hubble to realize he wasn't happy as a lawyer, and that his real passion was astronomy, so he studied at the Yerkes Observatory, and  in 1917, received a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Chicago.

Following a tour of duty in the first World War, Hubble took a job at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California, where took many photographs of Cepheid variables through 100 inch reflecting Hooker telescope, proving they were outside our galaxy, and determining the existence of several other galaxies such as our own milky way, which had until then been believed to be the universe. 

 Hubble had also devised a classification system for the various galaxies he observed, sorting them by content, distance, shape, and brightness; it was then he noticed redshifts in the emission of light from the galaxies, seeing saw that they were moving away from each other at a rate constant to the distance between them.  From these observation, he was able to formulate Hubble's Law in 1929, helping astronomers determine the age of the universe, and proving that the universe was expanding.

It is interesting to note that In 1917, Albert Einstein had already introduced his general theory of relativity, and  produced a model of space based on that theory, claiming that space was curved by gravity, therefore that it must be able to expand or contract; but he found this assumption so far fetched, that he revised his theory, stating that the universe was static and immobile.  Following Hubble's discoveries, he is quoted as having said that second guessing his original findings was the biggest blunder of his life, and he even visited Hubble to thank him in 1931. 

Continued on the next page...

 

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