The Cosmological constant (was Re: [asa] Predestined Fame:)

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Tue Jul 15 2008 - 22:25:13 EDT

Hi George,

I don't intend to defend a position on which I admit to being rather
uninformed. So please take the following as a request for increased

My reference is ONLY to Einstein's introduction of the cosmological
constant in 1917 - a.k.a. "the biggest mistake of my career." -
regardless of what constructive work it might subsequently do.

So while I acknowledge that it isn't a "fudge-factor" now, it does seem
to me to have been so at the time Einstein introduced it.

If this is not the case then (first question) what was the point of the
infamous "biggest mistake" remark? Indeed, to ask a more basic question,
is this comment correctly ascribed to Einstein in the first place?

And the second question: can you unpack a little the significance of the
  footnote in the earlier paper? Again, if this demonstrates the 1917
cosmological constant to be a valid inclusion - why did Einstein
subsequently distance himself from the idea?

Perhaps, were he aware of subsequent developments, Einstein might now
describe the cosmological constant as the most fortuitous mistake of his

Murray Hogg
Pastor, East Camberwell Baptist Church, Victoria, Australia
Post-Grad Student (MTh), Australian College of Theology wrote:
> This has nothing to do with numerology but I have to make my standard defence of the cosmological term. It's true that Einstein introduced it only to get a static universe in his 1917 paper. But in his basic general relativity paper 2 years earlier there is a footnote which in essence recognizes the possibility of including such a term in the field equations. & when he did introduce it he gave another argument for it, viewing it as an averaging of the "Poincare stresses" that were thought to be needed in classical electron theory.
> If Einstein had not introduced the cosmological term for the reasons he did, someone else would eventually have introduced them for other reasons - of which several can be given. & of course now we know that it provides at least a first approximation to the effects of dark energy.
> The popular designation of the cosmological constant as the quintessential fudge factor should cease.
> Shalom,
> George Murphy
> ---- Murray Hogg <> wrote:
> ...........................
>> To offer an analogy pertinent to the scientific nature of the list, I
>> see your approach as working ONLY if you are allowed to get away with a
>> highly questionable "fudging" of the equations -- a bit like Einstein's
>> addition of a cosmological constant to "fix" the theory of general
>> relativity. Such a constant was required by Einstein's need to
>> demonstrate a point, not because of any truly scientific motive.
> ...............................

Murray Hogg
Pastor, East Camberwell Baptist Church, Victoria, Australia
Post-Grad Student (MTh), Australian College of Theology
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Received on Tue Jul 15 22:25:43 2008

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