Age Of The Universe Essay Research Paper

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Age Of The Universe Essay, Research Paper The Age of the Universe INTRODUCTION: The goal of the project is to find the age of the universe according to the theory that there were equal amounts of the two uranium isotopes U235 and U238 at the time of the Big Bang. At present, there are 137.7 U238 atoms for each atom of U235. We know that the half-life of U235 is 0.71 billion years, and the half-life of U238 is 4.51 billion years, we used this information to determine the age of the universe. We started by looking at the problem mathematically and then after figuring out the age of the universe with the above information. We proceeded to look for other sources of information about the age of the universe with supporting data. The two largest sources that were found were a

Seattle University professor and a theory proposed by Edwin Hubble. CALCULATIONS Using the information above, we Y238(t) = Y238(0)ekt = No ekt Where No ekt is initial amount presumed equal for both isotopes. Y238(0) is the amount at Big Bang. Using the half-life formula of k = -ln2/T1. Where T1 is 4.51 in billion of years. Y235(t) = Y235(0)ekt = No ekt Y235(0) is the amount at Big Bang. Using the half-life formula of k2 = -ln2/T2. Where T2 is 0.71 in billions of years. Given these equations, they hypothesis of the problem is states that Y235(tnow) 1 Y238(tnow) = 137.7 Y238(tnow) Y235(tnow) = 137.7 So Y238(tnow) = Y238(0) ekt = No ek2tnow = etnow(k2-K1) = 137.7 Y235(tnow) Y235(0) ekt Noek1tnow Given that tnow cancels out for both U235 and U238 we are left with the equation of:

tnow ( -ln2 + -ln2) = 137.7 4.51 0.71 tnow ( .82257) = ln(137.7) tnow (.82257) = 4.92508 solving for tnow: tnow = 5.987 billion years. So this theory estimates the age of the universe to roughly 6 billion years old. COUNTERING THEORIES: HUBBLE THEORY In 1929, Edwin Hubble decided that because the light coming from most galaxies was redshifted. (The apparent change in wavelength of sound or light caused by the motion of the source, observer or both. Waves emitted by a moving object as received by an observer will be blueshifted (compressed) if approaching, redshifted (elongated) if receding. It occurs both in sound and light. How much the frequency changes depend on how fast the object is moving toward or away from the receiver.) Hubble concluded that the universe must be

expanding after exploding from an infinitesimal volume of super hot, super dense concentration of matter and energy. The explosion is called the big bang, which propelled matter in all directions and at all speeds. According to the big bang theory, the farther away an object is from us, the more redshifted its light. Also, a greater redshift means the object is moving away faster than objects with less redshift. In Designs and Origins in Astronomy, Mulfinger explains the redshift technique for measuring distances to distant galaxies. If the universe is not expanding, this cannot be true and the redshift must be due to other causes. An astronomer can tell how old the universe is by the rate of expansion. Cowen in 1994, clarifies that if the redshift is due to something other than

expansion, nothing can be said about the universe’s age. As we shall discuss further in connection with the big bang, there is strong evidence that the Universe has not always existed, but instead came into being a finite amount of time ago. There are several measures of the age of the Universe. Let us discuss two: (1) the age of globular clusters and (2) the inverse of the Hubble constant. Globular Clusters As a counter to the mathematical theory, globular clusters provide a measure of the age of the cluster. A cluster is a system of galaxies containing from a few to a few thousand-member galaxies, which are all gravitationally bound to each other. Thus, the age of such clusters place a limit on the age of the Universe, for it must be at least as old as the objects that it