By Peter G. Bergmann (auth.), Peter C. Aichelburg, Roman U. Sexl (eds.)

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So far as our universe is concerned it disappears completely and forever into nothing. But how can this be? Is it not a basic law of nature that matter or energy can never be completely destroyed but only converted from one form into another? The question is a perfectly respectable one, but it can be shown by rigorous argument, based on general relativity, that there must be a region inside a black hole, a region of infinite curvature, called a space-time singularity at which the known laws of physics break down.

Later we shall see that, on a large scale, the universe does appear to be highly homogeneous and highly isotropic. 18 Dennis W. Sciama The second idea was by no means obvious, and this was to exploit the non-Euclidean geometry of his theory by constructing a model in which space at anyone time is finite but unbounded - the three-dimensional analogue of the surface of a sphere. The topology of space as well as its geometry was thus brought into the discussion. The next major step was taken in 1922 by a Russian meteorologist Alexander Friedmann [3].

It is true that in the 1930's so-called Newtonian models were constructed, bearing a close similarity to the relativistic models, but this was only possible if it was permitted for inertial frames centred on different points to be accelerating relative to one another. This is not strictly part of the Newtonian concept. Moreover, it was not possible to give a satisfactory discussion of the propagation of light in these Newtonian models, and since light (and radio waves) is the main tool of the astronomer in exploring the universe, this defect is catastrophic.

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