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Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine





1 article for "Sitter, Willem de"

Sitter, Willem de [Astro*Index]

(1872-1934) Dutch astronomer. Born at Sneek, Friesland; died at Leiden.

In 1908, while serving as professor of astronomy at the University of Leiden, he was the first to become seriously interested in Einstein's Theory of Relativity. His reports reached Eddington, in England, and led to the English expedition of 1919 to test general relativity during the solar eclipse of that year. He disagreed with Einstein on the matter of `curved space': Einstein had thought that the radius of curvature was constant and that, therefore, the universe was static, maintaining a constant size. Sitter held that the general theory could be interpreted to show that the curvature was growing less, and that the curved universe was expanding. Spectra of distant galaxies supported this view, and Einstein was persuaded to Sitter's view.

See also: ♦ Einstein, Albert ♦ Eddington, Sir Arthur Stanley ♦ Red Shift


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