Einstein’s theory was not valid, as acknowledged by himself and the scientific world. In terms of using his theory of relativity to explain the universe, it was valid, however on a wider spectrum including other astronomic discoveries, Einstein’s ‘static theory’ was not valid. In 1917, Albert Einstein added a cosmological constant to his equations of general relativity to counteract the effects of gravity on ordinary matter, which would otherwise cause a static, finite universe to either collapse or expand forever.
This model of the universe became known as the Einstein World or Einstein’s static universe, implying that Albert had the idea that the universe was static or non-expansionary, after his theory of relativity was applied to the universe. This motivation to prove the universe was static, evaporated after the proposal by the astrophysicist Georges Lemaître, that the universe appears to be not static, but expanding. Edwin Hubble had researched data from the observations made by astronomer Vesto Slipher. This confirmed a relationship between redshift and distance. This forms the basis for the modern expansion model that was introduced by Lemaître and Hubble, which is still used today. According to George Gamow this led Einstein to declare his cosmological model to contradict Hubble and Lemaitre’s more popular theory. Einstein’s universe soon was recognized to be unstable, it was shortly abandoned as a viable model for the universe.
Why was the theory abandoned? Einstein’s universe was unstable in the sense that any slight change in either the value of the cosmological constant, the matter density, or curvature will result in a universe that either expands and accelerates forever or re-collapses to a big crunch. In order for a static, infinite universe model to be viable, it must explain three things:
- it must explain the intergalactic redshift (stretching of light’s wavelength, so the light is seen as ‘shifted’ towards the red part of the spectrum).
- it must explain the cosmic microwave background radiation (as explained previously in the report)
- it must have a mechanism to re-create matter (particularly hydrogen atoms) from radiation or other sources. With the absence of such a mechanism, the universe would consist of dead objects such as black holes and black dwarfs.