Astrophysics and Mysticism: the life of Arthur Stanley Eddington1

Ian H Hutchinson
Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

December 2002

1  Life

britishcounties.jpg
Figure 1: Counties of Britain, and Eddington's home towns. [14]
Arthur Stanley Eddington was born on 28 Dec 1882 in Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District. His father, Arthur Henry, had become Headmaster of the Stramongate School in 1878, appointed by the Kendal Meeting of the Society of Friends: the Quakers. But he died of typhoid only two years after Eddington's birth, whereupon, Eddington's mother, Sarah Ann (nee Shout) returned with her son and daughter (Winifred) to live with her mother in law in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
The young Stanley, as his family called him, showed early mathematical aptitude as well as a powerful memory. Before he could read he had learnt the 24 times 24 multiplication table, and was fascinated by the stars. His observational interest in astronomy was fired at age ten by the loan of a three-inch telescope, and he would give lectures on some astronomical subject to the devoted household servant. His schooling at the Brynmelyn School in Weston fostered his academic ambitions, but he also played in the First Eleven cricket and soccer teams. A scholarship in 1898 allowed him to enter Owen's College, a non-conformist foundation which by that time had become Victoria University and in 1902 became Manchester University. Eddington was sixteen years old. In his second year he topped the class in Latin and English History as well as Mathematics and Mechanics, completing a B.Sc. degree in physics in 1902 and entering Trinity College Cambridge, at age 19.
stramongateplaque.jpg
Figure 2: Plaque at Stramongate school commemorating Dalton and Eddington
To arrive at Cambridge University with several years of study at a lesser college was not unusual for ambitious undergraduates in mathematics. James Clerk Maxwell had entered Trinity fifty two years earlier after a sojourn at Edinburgh University. The mathematics Tripos was tremendously competitive, with examinations leading to a ranking of what were called the "wranglers". The ultimate accolade of Senior (or First) Wrangler practically guaranteed a successful entry into a research career, and ambitious students trained themselves like racehorses, under mathematical trainers. But Eddington was not a narrow specialist. He kept a list of his reading, which included Moliére, Goethe, and Dante, in the original languages. One may gain an impression of his scholastic ambitions from his taking exams to obtain the London University B.Sc. in 1903, gaining a first class in mathematics, but only a third in physics. He sat for the Cambridge Tripos in 1904 and was the first person in history to become Senior Wrangler after only two years. (Maxwell was only Second in his year.) Further studies for the Cambridge degree and some teaching (of engineering) occupied him at Trinity until early 1906.
wrangler2.jpg
Figure 3: Eddington, Senior Wrangler 1904.
Eddington was a keen cyclist throughout his life and kept a log of his rides. In 1905 he totalled 2669 miles. While at Cambridge he joined the (applied mathematics) 2 V Club, Chess Club, Cambridge Mathematical Club, Cavendish Society, Nonconformist Union, and the Portfolio Society.
In February 1906 Eddington accepted the offer of the Astronomer Royal to become the Chief Assistant at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. His duties there were primarily observational, and while the major scientific contribution from this time was his work on star motion, he was responsible for many more mundane or practical tasks. These responsibilities called for substantial travel, to Malta in 1909 to redetermine the longitude of a geodetic station, and to Brazil in 1912 for observations of an eclipse (washed out by rain). He also traveled with J.J.Thomson and Ernest Rutherford to Canada in 1909 for the Winnipeg meeting of the British Association.
observatory.jpg
Figure 4: The Cambridge Observatory circa 1930.
The Plumian Professorship of Astronomy at Cambridge fell vacant in 1913 and Eddington, who had already been elected to a Trinity Fellowship, was appointed the successor. In the following year, at the early age of 32 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and was appointed Director of the Cambridge Observatory. The Observatory appointment included a comfortable home in the Observatory house, to which be brought his mother and sister to live with him. It was to be their home for the rest of his life.
During the period 4 Aug 1914 to 2 Mar 1916, Great Britain's armed forces in the first world war were voluntary enlistments, but thereafter conscription was instituted. Eddington, as a Quaker, would not fight and was prepared to become a conscientious objector. It is perhaps hard in these more liberal days to envision the social ostracism to which he would have been subjected in a war driven by nationalistic fervor. Fortunately the University first obtained his exemption from service on the grounds of the national interest. This exemption was later appealed by the Ministry, and at a hearing on 14 Jun 1918 Eddington stated `I am a conscientious objector', saying at a follow-up hearing on 27 Jun 1918 `My objection to war is based on religious grounds. ... Even if the abstention of conscientious objectors were to make the difference between victory and defeat, we cannot truly benefit the nation by wilful disobedience to he divine will.' At the final hearing on 11 July 1918, the Astronomer Royal supported the argument for exemption with the proposal that Eddington undertake an expedition to observe the total eclipse in May of the following year to test Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. The board's decision was to grant a twelve months extension for him to do so.
Before the expedition could be mounted, the Armistice was signed, on 11 November, but in part by this accident associated with his religious commitments, Eddington did lead the expedition to the island of Principe off the coast of Africa to observe the eclipse. On the day, 29 May 1919, it rained early, threatening to hand Eddington his second eclipse wash-out; but the sun appeared just in time, and Eddington says `... I did not see the eclipse, being too busy changing plates ...' They got a good enough photograph to make the measurements and obtained a result agreeing with Einstein's theory.

2  Eddington's Scientific Achievements

If a measure of a scientist's greatness is the degree to which his peers and successors, and those outside of science, have been moved to comment on his achievements and opinions, then Eddington was very great indeed. Not that all of those comments have been of approval. Eddington seems to have provoked in many people both admiration and frustration. Nevertheless, his lasting achievements in Astonomy and Physics remain founding principles today.
During the period 1906 to at least 1914 Eddington's publications are dominated by his work regarding the "proper motions of stars". When he started his work at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, the prevailing theory was that stars were rather like the individual particles of a stationary gas, moving randomly with respect to one another, but without interesting collective motions. The sun was thought to be moving through them and hence imparting to their apparent motion a systematic drift, which it was the job of observations to quantify, hence deducing the sun's velocity. Observations by J.C.Kapteyn had shown in 1904 that the expected distribution of velocities was not consistent with the accepted model. Eddington wrote paper entitled "The systematic motions of the stars" during his first months at Greenwich, using newer and more extensive data that confirmed Kapteyn's. In August he visited Kapteyn in Holland. Their interpretation came to be known as the Kapteyn-Eddington hypothesis of two star-streams. This was the start of development of a serious scientific understanding of the structure of the universe. Even by 1914 when Eddington's highly influential text "Stellar Movements and the Structure of the Universe" was published, that understanding was far from what we take as commonplace today. The possibility of what we now call galaxies, was hardly more than a bold speculation. Eddington wrote about the spiral nebulae:
spiralgalaxy.png
Figure 5: A spiral nebula - galaxy, we would now call it.
... direct evidence is entirely lacking as to whether these bodies are within or without the stellar system ... If, however, it is assumed that these nebulae are external to the stellar system, that they are in fact systems co-equal with our own, we have at least an hypothesis which can be followed up ... it follows that our own system is a spiral nebula.
Although it took another twenty years before a full theory of galactic rotation was developed and explained in detail the statistics of star streaming, we can today recognize Eddington's hypothesis as basically correct.
The second and perhaps greatest contribution of Eddington to astrophysics was to create the discipline of the structure of stars.
His insights included This last was another of Eddington's inspired extrapolations. Nuclear reactions were not discovered until more than fifteen years later.
hrdiagram.jpg
Figure 7: The Hertzsprung-Russell diagram indicating Eddington's luminosity mass3 relationship.[12]
These discoveries, along with much else were consolidated into his book "The internal constitution of stars" (1926), which became the bible of the field and remained so for decades.
The third area of Eddington's scientific achievement was carried out largely contemporaneously with the second. It was in General Relativity. When Einstein's theory was published in a series of papers to the Berlin Academy, in 1915, the world was at war. Eddington received copies of the papers soon afterwards, forwarded by the neutral deSitter, who was in the process of making his own contributions to it. Eddington immediately grasped the significance of the work and, because of his own mathematical genius, was readily able to master it. Through this facility and because of a major "Report on the Relativity Theory of Gravitation" (1918) that he wrote, commissioned by the Physical Society (of London), he became immediately the leading exponent of relativity in the English language. He published very few technical journal articles on Relativity but two books: "Space Time and Gravitation" (1920) and the magisterial "Mathematical Theory of Relativity" (1923).
ase_einstein.png
Figure 8: Eddington and Einstein, contemporaries.
From the late 1920s onward, Eddington's technical efforts were increasingly devoted to what later acquired the name of an unfinished but posthumously published book "Fundamental Theory" (1946). In this respect he was not unlike his contemporary Einstein (or for that matter Faraday, nearly 100 years earlier) in seeking a theory that would unify the electromagnetic interactions, governed by quantum mechanics, and gravity, described by general relativity. The practically unanimous verdict of scientific posterity is that Eddington, like Einstein, failed. The major difference between them, though, is that Einstein was well aware of his failure, whilst Eddington thought that he was on the way to succeeding. The basis for his optimism was his apparent derivation of some of the fundamental constants of physical science. Eddington thought he had a proof that the inverse of the fine structure constant (the dimensionless constant formed from the values h, c and e, that governs the strength of radiative interactions in atoms) is precisely 137. The currently accepted value is 137.04. He also thought that the number of protons in the universe could be derived exactly2[5]:
15,747,724,136,275,002,577,605,653,961,181,555,468,044,717,914,
527,116,709,366,231,425,076,185,631,031,296
that is, 136×2256. These claims were never widely accepted and are of course discredited now. However, they sprang from deep insights that were revolutionary in his time and are common currency today. One is that the dimensionless constants of the cosmos hold a key to understanding the world, and another is that the structure and even numerical values of physical theories can be considered to spring from the abstract algebra of Group Theory.
bristol.jpg
Figure 9: Notable physicists at Bristol, 1927
Many commentators have regarded this work of Eddington's later years as a wasted opportunity. Chandrasekhar, who had known him personally at Trinity, was critical also of his influence within relativity and cosmology. Eddington had argued against Chandrasekhar's mass limit, above which a star collapses to what would now be called a black hole. In 1979[7] he remarked to the International Astronomical Union's General Assembly that Eddington's "supreme authority in those years [1935] effectively delayed the development of fruitful ideas along these lines for some thirty years." A back-handed compliment indeed! However, three years later, Chandrasekhar attributed[8] the same stagnation of the subject to the widely held "supposed difficulty" of general relativity - a view which he cites J.J.Thomson as having helped to promote. Perhaps Chandrasekhar thought better of his earlier immoderate and implausible opinion. Perhaps he realized that the earlier comment might say more about Chandrasekhar than about Eddington. Einstein struck what seems a well judged opinion when he said[9]
Eddington's later work on the cosmological constants suffered because his imagination was not adequately balanced by his critical facilities.
plumian.jpg
Figure 10: Eddington, Plumian Professor of Astronomy.
During those years, Eddington was simultaneously engaged in major efforts of popular and philosophical exposition of the content and significance of the latest developments in physics. These writings, which were translated into many foreign languages, including French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, and Polish, brought him very much into the public eye. It was as an already highly visible public figure that he was knighted in 1930 and later awarded the Order of Merit (1938). The elegant and often almost poetic style of the philosophical writings was undoubtedly a major factor in capturing the attention of the public and thus awakening a wide interest in physics and cosmology. Philosophers were, however, some of his severest critics, perhaps because his position was almost a form of Idealism. Alan Batten in his semi-centennial retrospective on Eddington[10] writes about the criticism that both Jeans and Eddington engendered
I cannot help wondering, however, if similar flaws would have been overlooked had the astronomers drawn realist, or even materialist, conclusions from their science. Some, at least, of the fury of the philosophers could be explained by chagrin at seeing ideas that they had imbibed as students, and then reacted against, advanced in widely read books by two eminent scientists.

3  Quaker Life and Faith

Eddington was a lifelong quaker. Quakers have a reputation for heterodoxy within Christendom, but that reputation is seen, these days, as largely overdrawn. The movement began in the middle of the 17th century, and came to prominence in part through the preaching of George Fox. They first called themselves "seekers", refering to the attitude of mind that they brought to their religious convictions. They acquired the name "quakers" from the derisive term used by their critics, refering to the physical manifestation of their intention to submit directly to the inner leading of the Spirit. Their official name is, of course, the Society of Friends. Eddington likened the seeking attitude of his faith to what he took as the correct approach to science, saying for example,
In science as in religion the truth shines ahead as a beacon showing us the path; we do not ask to attain it; it is better far that we be permitted to seek.
peaceablekingdom.png
Figure 11: The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks (1780-1849), perhaps the most famous Quaker artist; cousin of Elias Hicks who instigated a schism within Quakerism.
Most of the distinctive characteristics of Quakerism are reasonably well known. However, their particular trait of eschewing any creeds, naturally tends to leave outsiders ignorant of Quakers' core beliefs, and may reinforce the suspicion that perhaps they are not quite Christians. There was in the early ninteenth century a splinter group that acquired the name of Hicksites, who denied the divinity of Christ, and adopted a more or less Unitarian theological position. But the bulk of Quakerism in the US was described in 1879 (three years before Eddington's birth) in the following way[6].
They believe in the doctrine of the Trinity ... that we obtain salvation through the antoning merits of the death of Christ; that man ... forfeited his right to the blessings of the Creator by his fall, and will owe his restoration ... to the mercy of God and the blood of Christ, that the Holy Scriptures are the work of inspiration, and a good rule of life and faith. ...
These teachings would count as thoroughly orthodox Christianity today.
Perhaps the key theological position that gave them the reputation of unorthodoxy was their rejection of all sacraments[6]
The baptism which saves the soul is not dipping or sprinkling with water but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The communion of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus is inward and spiritual.
These are sentiments with which I would not hesitate to agree, but Quakers believe that they render outward ceremonies and liturgical acts superfluous. Most other Christians would regard Baptism and Holy Communion (or the Lord's Supper) as traditions instituted by Jesus himself, and to be observed in memory of and obedience to him.
Eddington's commitment to the Society of Friends was a deep influence on his life and thought. As well as his regular participation in the local gathering, he was active in the Quaker Guild of Teachers. The Guild, founded in 1896, was intended to help its members to understand and integrate their faith and their intellectual life, and to equip themselves for their vocation. Eddington joined in 1906 and and was elected to the executive five years later[16]. In 1908 he combined his love of strenuous outdoor holiday activities with his faith, by attending the Guild's Summer School in Kendal, camping with others of the 200 participants beside the river, and dining in the hall of Stramongate School. Lectures in the morning and evening were on subjects like Mysticism, Christianity and its Early Foes, and on social action.
The Quaker distinctive that perhaps helps us most to understand Eddington is their teaching concerning the "inner light" that they believe enlightens every human. This teaching is reflected in their emphasis on the direct, silent, encounter with the divine within the believer's soul. I feel compelled to see in Eddington's repeated reliance upon his scientific intuition a reflection of a habit of inner conviction based on spiritual practice and commitment. Indeed Eddington's philosophical writing makes clear that he regarded these direct intuitive perceptions as having equal validity with the more quantitative approach that is most often identified as scientific.

4  The Unseen World

unseenworld.jpg
Figure 12: Title Page.
It would be impossible here to do justice to Eddington's extensive philosophical writings, culminating in his "Philosophy of Physical Science"[4], or even to his single extended essay on specifically spiritual matters entitled "Science and the Unseen World"[3] presented at the Friends' Meeting House in London in 1929. Mere outlines of these works must suffice.
In the late philosophical work Eddington gives an outworking of the trajectory his thinking had been on for some time. He titles his philosophical position "Selective Subjectivism" or "Structuralism". What he means by the first expression is in part that the role of the observer is definitional in what is discovered, and indeed that the meaning of science is defined by the proposed means for observing it
observation is the supreme Court of Appeal ... [physical knowledge must be] such that we can specify ... an observational procedure which would decide whether it is true or not. ... [therefore it must be an] assertion of what has been or would be the result of carrying out a specified observational procedure.
But the critical point for Eddington is what we can learn from epistemology. He develops an extended analogy between science and an Icthyologist's net which has a hole size of two inches. The first thing a naive Icthyologist concludes is that all fishes are two inches or greater in size. This is Subjectively selected knowledge. But sooner or later the intelligent Icthyologist gets to thinking not so much about the fish as about the net. Epistemology is analogous to examining the net. Here he undoubtedly has in mind the crucial role of observation in quantum physics. But Eddington insists that there must be a priori knowledge, without it we could know nothing. But such knowledge would be impossible if the universe were wholly objective. Hence his term Selective Subjectivism.
Eddington believes that an adequate epistemology can deduce not only the methods and limitations of science but also its content. He argues that such principles as Heisenberg's uncertainty: the impossibility of knowing simultaneously both position and momentum, or the relativistic impossibility of establishing distant simultaneity are not observational deductions, but definitional, arising from "logical contradiction in the definition which professes to specify the procedure for observing it". Thus, he regards Newton's hypotheses as being reduced by Einstein's relativity to epistemological truths.
tarner.jpg
Figure 13: Tarner Lectures.
Eddington identifies three types of knowledge: (1) structural, with the approximate meaning of mathematical, but in Eddington's thinking the structure appears to be almost identified with Group theory, (2) direct awareness (approximately sensation) and (3) sympathetic understanding, which he argues is essential because a remembered sensation is sympathetic understanding of a past sensation. To exclude sympathetic understanding allows only the momentary to exist.
Eddington discusses in detail the problem of mind, and regards it as a fundamental property of matter that volition or as he sometimes calls it "correlation" or elsewhere "demonic activity" occur. They are not explicable in reductionistic terms. But there is a place for special facts, not deducible from structural theory, for example that the universe is mostly empty.
Physical science has made a place for itself by greatly limiting the sphere of demonic activity, so that there is an extensive realm of experience in which behaviour can be counted on and scientific prediction is possible. Great as may be the practical effects of this change, it is a matter of detail (special fact) rather than of principle. Demonic activity (volition) remains, though it is limited to certain centres in men and the higher animals. Prayer and propitiation may still influence the course of physical events when directed to these centres. We now think it ludicrous to imagine that rocks, sea and sky are animated by volitions such as we are aware of in ourselves. It would be thought even more ludicrous to imagine that the volitionless behaviour of rocks, sea and sky extends also to ourselves, were it not that we have scarecely yet recovered from the repressions of 250 years of deterministic physics.
Bertrand Russell, whose antipathy to Christianity is well known, sought to skewer Eddington and Jeans (Christians and scientific philosophizers both) in his much quoted epigram[11]
Sir Arthur Eddington deduces religion from the fact that atoms do not obey the laws of mathematics. Sir James Jeans deduces it from the fact that they do.
This certainly misrepresents Eddington in that he strongly opposed all attempts to deduce religious belief from any scientific result, saying for example "the religious reader may well be content that I have not offered him a God revealed by the quantum theory, and therefore liable to be swept away in the next scientific revolution"[2] But he did feel that quantum uncertainty implied an openness of the world that removed certain difficulties about free will inherent in the prior determinism.
Eddington's Swarthmore Lecture[3] starts with a sweeping and poetic scientific outline of natural history that he describes as how "the scientifically minded among us approach the problem of [man's] relation to the Unseen World". He excuses his lack of direct religious reference in his description by an analogy:
A business man may believe that the hand of Providence is behind his commercial undertakings ...; but he would be aghast at the suggestion that Providence should be entered as an asset in his balance sheet. I think it is not irreligion but a tidiness of mind, which rebels against the idea of permeating scientific research with a religious implication.
He describes the reductionistic identification "that the dance of atoms in the brain really constitutes the thought ..." as "out of keeping with recent ... fundamental principles of physics", and recalls that "Mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience; all else is remote inference." Following up with a discussion of the problem of experience, he argues that the "mystical outlook" does face the hard facts of experience, whereas reductionists are "shirking one of the most immediate facts of experience, namely that consciousness is not wholly nor even primarily a device for receiving sense impressions." Although these arguments for "natural" mysticism do not imply a religious mysticism, they mean that many objections lose their force.
Materialism is dead but not natural laws. Natural laws are, however, not applicable to the unseen world. One cannot "extract the square root of a sonnet". There is meaning in events that cannot be described by the laws of physics. An alien visitor observing that all of England becomes quiet on 11 November, would be mistaken in likening this observation to the two minutes of darkness during an eclipse. The eclipse is predictable by physics; the Armistice observance is not. But even if it were, the alien would have missed the significance by such a prediction.
At bottom though, the question is not "does God exist".
In the case of our human friends we take their existence for granted ... we could read philosophical arguments designed to prove the non-existence of each other, and perhaps even be convinced by them - and then laugh together over so odd a conclusion. I think that it is something of the same kind of security we should seek in our relationship with God.
For that reason, arguments between atheism and deism or pantheism are not important.
Religion does not depend on the substitution of the word `God' for the word `Nature'. The crucial point for us is not a conviction of the existence ... but ... of the revelation of a supreme God. I will not speak here of the revelation in a life lived nineteen hundred years ago ...
Eddington advocates the appropriateness of the term Personal God, in comparison with more vague, physical sounding terminology, since "the spiritual world ... is bound up with those aspects of consciousness in which personality is centred". He disparages the controversy between modernism and traditionalism in religion through a sustained analogy with a newspaper debate about terminology for a sunset saying that the insecurity and dissension is
... all because it is forgotten that what the ... man looked out for each evening was an experience and not a creed.

5  Eddington's strengths and weaknesses

It is not my purpose here to revisit further or restate the various critiques of Eddington's thought and life written by far more substantial scholars than me. Nevertheless, while Eddington's outstanding scientific successes invalidate the impression sometimes given that he was tragically self-deluded, it is clear that his work on the Fundamental Theory led nowhere. Not that the quest for a theory of everything (the fashionable modern term) which Eddington and Einstein both sought unsuccessfully is discredited. Rather, I think, it is pursued in a less idealist philosophical mode than Eddington's.
I suggest that a crucial difference now is that physicists, even if they believe that in the end some physics can be reduced to mathematical necessity, as Eddington thought it could, acknowledge contingency within the universe. In other words, the laws of physics could perhaps be different than they are; there are some choices or arbitrariness about the universal constants. Indeed many cosmologists of a more materialist or reductionist bent have gone to extraordinary lengths, such as introducing the possibility of an enormous multiplicity of universes, so as to avoid having to explain why our universe has the values that it does. Christians might be pursuaded of such a proposal by the arguments, if they were convincing, or by evidence, if it existed, but they do not feel the same compulsion to this expedient. A key part of Biblical doctrine, which Eddington inherited, but perhaps as a Quaker did not fully assimilate, is that the world is a contingent creation of a freely acting God. In other words, the world is, in part at least, a free choice by God. The ability to understand the coherent creation is part of what it means to be in the image of God. It arises from a gift from him. It is this that explains the unreasonable efficacy of mathematics in explaining the world, not that the world could not logically have been different. What is more, Christians are comfortable with a universe that appears to be a very particular place, since God could certainly choose it to be so.
Eddingtonintense.jpg
Figure 14: The Mystic[15]
Eddington's scientific philosophy, which motivated his approach to the Fundamental Theory, seems from a theological perspective to give insufficient latitude to the Creator. In that sense it can be argued, I think, that a weakness in Eddington's later science can be related to a weakness in his theology. In science, he emphasized the direct mental perception of physical theory, through mathematics and often through intuition, somewhat to the detriment of a critical assessment of his own ideas. In religion he emphasized the direct inner encounter with the divine, somewhat to the detriment of the correction and guidance of spiritual experience by the external resources of Scripture and community. He was a mystic.
But whatever these blemishes may be, Eddington's greatness of intellect and spirit outshines them. His memory is honored through his own writings, through lectures and medals named after him, and in the accolades of his contemporaries and students. His first biographer, then president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, wrote at Eddington's death in 1944,
The modern world owes much to the Society of Friends. ... This debt is immeasurably increased when we remember that Sir Arthur Eddington was of that company of devout seekers after truth.
He took the universe from atoms to stellar galaxies and likewise the world unseen save by `the eye of the soul' as his hunting grounds, and therein - to borrow Blake's words - imagination and reason went forth in uncurbed glory.

6  Acknowledgements and Sources

Eddington's official biography is by a Canadian fellow astronomer A. Vibert Douglas[1]. That work is the major source of knowledge about Eddington's personal life, and also contains insightful appreciations of his scientific contributions. It is the main secondary source from which I have worked, and from which many of the photos here are drawn. Beyond that, Eddington's own lucid and compelling literary output is rich, and for the present purposes I have mostly depended on his three most philosophical books[2,3,4]. I am grateful to Maurice Van Putten for drawing my attention to Chandrasekhar's remarks about Black Hole research and to all the members of MIT's Faculty Christian Fellowship for their encouragement.

References

[1]
A. V. Douglas, The Life of Arthur Stanley Eddington, Nelson, London (1957).
[2]
The Nature of the Physical World (1927 Gifford Lectures) MacMillan, NY (1928) p353.
[3]
Science and the Unseen World (Swarthmore Lecture), MacMillan, NY, (1929).
[4]
The Philosophy of Physical Science (Tarner Lectures), MacMillan, Cambridge, (1939)
[5]
The Philosophy of Physical Science, p170.
[6]
History of Denominations, Holy Bible, George V. Jones, Boston, (1879)
[7]
S. Chandrasekhar, in Highlights of Astronomy, vol 5, P.A.Wayman, Ed., Reidel, Dordrecht, (1980).
[8]
S. Chandrasekhar, Eddington, the most distinguished astrophysicist of his time, Cambridge University Press (1983), p30.
[9]
A.Einstein to A.V.Douglas 1953 [AVD op cit p56]
[10]
A.H.Batten, "A Most Rare Vision: Eddington's Thinking on the Relation between Science and Religion", Q. J. R. astr. Soc (1994) 35, 249-270.
[11]
B.Russell, The Scientific Outlook, Allen and Unwin, London (1931).
[12]
T.T.Arny Explorations: Introduction to Astronomy McGraw Hill, Reading (2000) fig 12.20b.
[13]
http://www.astro.utu.fi/~cflynn/Stars/full/le.gif
[14]
Source: Association of British Counties. http://www.abcounties.co.uk/
[15]
http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/history/PictDisplay/Eddington.html
[16]
A. V. Douglas (1957) op cit p 33.

Footnotes:

1Originally presented as talk at the "Faith of Great Scientists Seminar", MIT, January 2003
2In response to a specific question, Eddington said that he had evaluated this number during a transatlantic crossing.


File translated from TEX by TTHgold, version 3.77.
On 16 Oct 2007, 15:00.