Alexander A Friedmann: The Man who Made the Universe Expand
Our universe can be described mathematically by a simple model developed in 1922 at Petrograd (St. Petersburg) by Alexander Friedmann (1888-1925). Without the benefit of observational evidence, Friedmann predicted that the whole universe would expand and evolve with time. This astonishing prediction was confirmed seven years later by Edwin Hubble. Its originator, unfortunately didn't live to savor this triumph. This vivid biography of an outstanding scientist sets his life and work against a wide backdrop of the history of cosmological studies and its major players, such as Einstein and others. The book is a window on Friedmann's school and university years, military service, and teaching and research during a seminal period of Soviet history. The authors include unique archival material, such as Friedmann's letters from the Russian Front, as well as contemporary records and reminiscences of colleagues. There is a detailed treatment of his work in theoretical cosmology (1922-1924), set in the context of the organization of Soviet science at the time.
and the author is striving to unite it with psychology. Friedmann might ordinarily have reviewed two other books: one by E. C. Brewer - A Guide to the Scientific Knowledge of Things Familiar, which had had 46 (!) editions in England, and one by H. Weimer - A History of Pedagogics. But Friedmann's reviews were no longer being published in the journal, mainly, it seems, because he had talented rivals in the long-standing contributors N. Tomilin (who reviewed books on physics) and F. I. Pavlov
were published which were devoted to the physics of electromagnetic oscillations and waves. The issues contained translations of classic works by H. Hertz, Lord Kelvin, W. Feddersen, and others. They also had reviews written by Russian authors. The second issue of this publication12 contained an article by A. A. Friedmann "On the integration of linear equations of the second degree" (the case of an equation describing processes occurring in the oscillation contours). The article was methodical in
happen to someone who thinks much, but reads little."16 During this period,, Friedmann also began at the Pavlovsk Aerological Observatory and even moved to Pavlovsk (this period is dealt with in more detail in Chapter 4). We shall only mention here that when he went to Pavlovsk he was already a married man: back in June 1911, in keeping 16 See more about this in the article by V. Ya. Frenkel and B. Ye. Yavelov in The Einstein Memorial Collection of 1980-1981, Nauka Publishers, Moscow, 1985, pp.
mathematicians equipped to judge it, but also on the part of people lacking knowledge in these sciences . . . Relativity theory is described not only in a huge amount of scientific and philosophical literature, and also popular scientific literature, but even in newspaper and magazine articles, quite often of low quality, which has created for it a purely superficial success - a kind of fashion, as a result of which the relativity principle is shown in the cinema, and almost anyone believes he
was given in these forms to mathematics: only five periods a week in the fourth form, and six periods in the fifth! And it is in the fifth form that Friedmann and Tamarkin began to study mathematics really hard!4 Examinations The documents kept in the archives show us what kind of mathematics problems were offered to Friedmann and Tamarkin at the oral and written matriculation examination in the spring of 1906. They give some idea about the level of teaching and the requirements the students