With chapters on: Rachel Carson, Charles A. Coulson, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Arthur S. Eddington, Albert Einstein, Ronald A. Fisher, Julian Huxley, Pascual Jordan, Robert A. Millikan, Ivan P. Pavlov, Michael I. Pupin, Abdus Salam, Edward O. Wilson
Edited By Nicolaas A. Rupke
JASON M. RAMPELT Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882-1944) 129
Arthur Stanley Eddington Relativity and Dogma JASON M. RAMPELT The theories of special and general relativity provide the focus and Im- petus for the astronomical research of Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882- 1944). From the earliest days of his career as an assistant at the Green- wich Observatory, to its conclusion as the head of the Cambridge Obser- vatory, relativity was his favorite tool. The reason, however, for his love affair with the theory is not first a result of its profundity or applicability to astronomical questions, but of how the theory showed that science does not rest an an immovable foundation outside of human experience. As a Christian, Eddington was interested in countering a rising anti-reli- gious rhetoric in Britain. As a Quaker he opposed creedal dogmas — scientific as well as religious. Relativity helped reinforce his point that science had no basis for a dogmatism that rejected everything incompre- hensible by its frame of reference. The rise and reign of relativity under Eddington Stanley Eddington, as he was known by those dose to him, entered Owens College in Manchester at the age of sixteen. His father died before he was even two years old, but he was dose to his mother and sister Winifred (1878-1954). The loss of a father limited the financial resources available for education, but Owens was run by John William Graham (1859-1932), a notable Quaker, and was able to provide a good education in the sciences. In most subjects, he earned the highest marks — so high,...
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