FIRST PRINTINGS OF THE FOUNDATIONAL PAPERS ON THE BIG BANG AND THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE. Including a fine copy of the famous “Alpha-Beta-Gamma” paper.
The Origin of Chemical Elements:
"With the experimental and theoretical information now available it is possible to give a tentative description of the structure and evolution of the universe.."
Physicist George Gamow "was interested in the Big Bang in relation to nucleosynthesis- the formation of atomic nuclei. Gamow wanted to see whether nuclear physics and the Big Bang could explain the observed atomic abundances," specifically, "whether the early moments of the Big Bang could be responsible for our universe being dominated by hydrogen and helium." With his graduate student Ralph Alpher, Gamow began constructing an ingenius mathematical model that attempted to explain the nuclear processes that would have occurred at the conditions of the extreme heat of the very early universe. They "spent three years working through their calculations, questioning their assumptions, updating their cross-sections and refining their estimates... This was an extraordinary adventure. They were applying concrete physics to a previously vague Big Bang theory, attempting to mathematically model the conditions and events of the early universe. They were estimating initial conditions and applying the laws of nuclear physics to see how the universe evolved with time and how the processes of nucleosynthesis progressed."
The result was a stunning success. With their model, Alpher and Gamow could predict the formation of hydrogen and helium in the observed proportions ( 99.99% of all atoms ) in the universe. "This result was the first major triumph for the Big Bang model since Hubble had observed and measured the redshifts of galaxies.
"When Gamow and Alpher's paper, "The Origin of Chemical Elements" was being sent for publication in the April 1, 1948 issue (April Fool's Day) of the Physical Review, Gamow couldn't resist playing a little joke on the scientific community. Even though his good friend Hans Bethe contributed nothing to the paper, Gamow added his name to the list of authors so the readers could enjoy the sight of a paper authored by Alpher, Bethe, Gamow and appreciate the pun on the Greek letters alpha, beta, and gamma. One of the unintended consequences of this joke was that is stripped the young Alpher of much of the credit due to him, for the public naturally assumed that the famous Bethe and Gamow had now done all the work.
"The Alpha-Beta-Gamma paper, as it became known, was a milestone in the Big Bang versus eternal universe debate. It showed that it was possible to do real calculations relating to the nuclear processes that might have occurred after a hypothetical Big Bang, and thus test this theory of creation. Big Bang supporters could now point to two pieces of evidence, the expansion of the universe and the abundance of hydrogen and helium, and show that they were entirely consistent with the Big Bang model of the universe." Simon Singh, Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe, pp. 306-336.
IN: The Physical Review, Vol. 73, No. 7, pp. 803-4; April 1 1948. Lancaster, PA and New York, NY: American Institute of Physics, 1948. Quarto, original wrappers. A FINE COPY.
Expanding Universe and the Origin of Elements:
"Birth of the Big Bang Model" -Particle Physics: One Hundred Years of Discovery
FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS of George Gamow's paper marking the beginning of the Big Bang Model.
"The German physicist Carl Friedrich von Weizsacker had postulated in 1938 that most elements were formed in explosions similar to that taking place in Lemaitre’s primeval atom, but he did not state clearly whether the birthplace was cosmological or stellar. The turning point came in 1946, when Gamow discussed quantitatively the role of nuclear processes in relativistic cosmologies. His brief 1946 paper on the expanding universe and the origin of elements marks the beginning of modern big bang theory” (Hetherington, Cosmology).
Gamow, working with his graduate student Ralph Alpher, would spend the next two years developing his theory, culminating in the famous “Alpha-Beta-Gamma” paper (The Origin of Chemical Elements) of 1948.
Particle Physics: One Hundred Years of Discoveries: “Gamow indication on the possibility to explain the observed chemical elements abundance-curve by assumption of unequilibrium process of elements formation during a limited interval of time. Birth of the Big Bang model.”
IN: The Physical Review, Vol. 70, Second Series, Numbers 7 and 8, October 1 and 15, 1946, pp. 572-3. Lancaster, PA and New York, NY: American Institute of Physics, 1946. Quarto, original wrappers neatly rebacked. Fine condition.
–Ralph Alpher’s “Neutron-capture theory of the formation and relative abundance of the elements”: Alpher’s doctoral dissertation, which presents the most detailed early exposition of the theory. He introduced the term “ylem” for the initial state of the universe, consisting only of neutrons. Gamow liked the term and often gave the impression that he had invented it. IN: The Physical Review, Vol 74, Second Series, Number 11, December 1, 1948, pp.1577-1589. Lancaster, PA and New York, NY: American Institute of Physics, 1948. Quarto, original wrappers; a fine copy.
–The papers “Thermonuclear reactions in the expanding universe” (Alpher, Herman, Gamow; pp. 1198-99; November 1, 1948) and “On the relative abundance of the elements” (Alpher and Herman; pp. 1737-1742; December 15, 1948) report progress in the challenging problem of numerical computation of element build-up by neutron and proton capture. Fine copies.
FIVE PAPERS IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS, HANDSOMELY BOXED TOGETHER, DOCUMENTING THE BIRTH OF THE BIG BANG MODEL.
Price: $4,900 .