Steady State versus Big Bang Theory

This page provides a starting point for the Swinburne Astronomy Online project on 'Steady State versus Big Bang Theory'.

The official brief:

The Steady State theory burst forth in the 1950s with much fanfare. This description of the Universe by Hoyle, Bondi and Gold that required the constant creation of matter satisfied many who found an origin event such as the Big Bang difficult to reconcile either scientifically or philosophically. Describe and compare both sides of the Steady State and Big Bang models debate. For high marks you will need to explain the opposing viewpoints of Gamow, Alpher, Herman and Hoyle, Gold, Bondi (and later Narlikar, Burbidge). What events influenced each model? Where do the models stand now?

The main tasks are to:

1. Describe and compare the Steady State and Big Bang theories.

2. Explain the viewpoints of the personalities listed above.

3. Discuss whether the current observational evidence for the big bang is definitive.

4. Discuss whether the updated Quasi-Steady State theory still has merit.

Suggested References





Professional articles

Alpher, R.A. & Herman, R.C., 1949, Phys Rev Lett, 75, 7, 1089 (and references within)

Hoyle, F., Burbidge, G. & Narlikar, J.V., 1993, ApJ, 410, 437 (and references within)

Books (it is not necessary to purchase these books, but it's hoped that these titles are popular enough to be found in libraries)

The Big Bang by Joseph Silk (Freeman and Co.)

Home Is Where the Wind Blows: Chapters from a Cosmologist's Life by Fred Hoyle April, 1994 Univ Science Books; ISBN: 093570227

In Search of the Big Bang by John Gribbin (Penguin 1998)

Emma V. Ryan-Weber,   Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing,   Swinburne University of Technology,   Tel: +61 (0) 9214 4746    Fax: +61 (0) 9214 5099    Email: eryanweber at