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An examination of eureka by edgar allan poe

Poe Abstract The literary talent of Edgar Allan Poe is beyond dispute, but his activity in the scientific area condensed in Eureka has been sadly neglected or ignored. Only recently have some researchers undertaken the labour of re-evaluating it. This recent re-evaluation is long overdue, especially, those propositions related to Cosmology. This paper purposes extensions of those propositions, as well as additional commentary, relating, in particular, to Chemistry.

Unfortunately, many whom he had offended continued to smear his character after his death. As it has recently been written: Lastly, he points out the negligence of the authorities to investigate some evidences of his possible murder 62. The failure of the book as a scientific work stems from several factors. First, the ambitious objective declared by Poe at the beginning: These factors contributed to the refusal of the scientific community, fully opposed to the concept of an evolutive Universe, during his time and later.

Those disinclined to adopt such a universe included Humboldt, to whom Eureka was dedicated. Such a situation was foreseen by Poe, referring to Newton and Laplace: To illustrate the importance of intuition, if it is supported by a consistent reasoning, he writes: Had he been asked to point out the deductive or inductive route by which he attained them, his reply may have been: The importance of intuition in the research and teaching of Modern Mathematics has also been pointed out by others Rado 10, Korner 9.

In this way, Eureka was an examination of eureka by edgar allan poe into oblivion. It is possible to list different reasons. Harrison has pointed out the main problem: Such a return to Unity could be seen as an antecedent of the Omega Point theory glimpsed by Theilard de Chardin in 1916 published only in 1956 and developed to a great extent by Tipler in 1994 112.

His discoveries are a testament to his mighty intuition. Before discussing some of his propositions, it would be convenient to remember the first one: In the beginning there was only God, Who, from Himself, created a primeval atom whom He ordered to disintegrate into an enormous but not infinite number of atoms which, in their turn, were irradiated in all directions filling up the finite Universe of Stars. This is different from Space that is infinite.

Gravity then appears as a reaction to the force of diffusion, so provoking the agglomeration of atoms to assume the forms of the celestial bodies. At the same time appears the differentiation of atoms, with the necessary physical, chemical and vital consequences.

  • This limits, absolutely, the number of electrons that may co-exist on each level and limits, therefore, the overlapping of orbits when two atoms approach;
  • Even the most ardent Poe experts are baffled when trying to read or understand the book;
  • Regarding the atomic model, Poe formulates some interesting propositions;
  • First, the ambitious objective declared by Poe at the beginning;
  • For example, if the atomic weight of iron is 55.

Lastly, gravity represents a tendency to Unity in the long term. Such Unity requires the annihilation of the present Universe and the renascence of future Universes. It would also be convenient to classify, in some way, the numerous propositions made by Poe some of them original, others not at all. Next, let us examine several statements already discussed by other authors as well as some proposals apparently not analyzed to date. Propositions previously discussed 1 On the Origin of the Universe Poe states: This fragment refers, probably, to the commonly-accepted Biblical concept of the Creation and it means, together with the first-quoted sentence that, in spite of the misfortune that followed Poe for his entire life, he did not, at the end, lose his religious faith.

Allan early inculcated him, but one that Poe himself deeply elaborated as both philosophical and physical concept. Other probable links of Poe with an examination of eureka by edgar allan poe Catholic faith have recently been investigated Burduck.

This law was originally interpreted as implying that galaxies are receding from Earth at speeds proportional to their distances; lately, it has been assumed that the space itself is expanding Sartori 301. Even the Theory of General Relativity, published by Einstein in 1916, considered the Universe as a static one.

But it was not until 1965, thanks to the measurement of the cosmic thermal background by Penzias and Wilson, that the expansive model imagined by Poe was proved Munshe, 1998 4. Even more, Poe speculates about another salient subject of inquiry: First, he condenses into one word, electricity, the different forms of non-gravitational energy: As well, two other relativistic concepts, an examination of eureka by edgar allan poe space-time in Special Relativity and the geometrical interpretation of gravity in General Relativity Brillouin 50were anticipated by Poe when he wrote: Similar concepts had been originally proposed by Kepler in 1597 and by Descartes in 1664 Parpart 10-13.

They neither attract to us, nor we them. Their material—their spirit is not ours—is not that which obtains in any part of our Universe. Those bridges may also represent the path from a black hole to a white hole, i. The Penrose Diagrams show graphically the supposed Universes that would exist around ours and the theoretical possibility or impossibility of traveling to them, something that Poe had not anticipated.

The equilibrium between the centripetal and centrifugal forces of each system, being necessarily destroyed upon attainment of a certain proximity to the nucleus of the cluster to which it belongs, there must occur, at once, a chaotic or seemingly chaotic precipitation, of the moons upon the planets, of the planets upon the suns, and of the suns upon the nuclei; and the general result of this precipitation must be the gathering of the myriad now-existing stars of the firmament into an almost infinitely less number of almost infinitely superior spheres…Then…will be glaring unimaginable suns.

It is evident that Poe describes here the formation of a Universal Black Hole, which he considered the destiny and end of this Universe, an end that has been recently named as the Big Crunch. Poe proposes also the existence of dark matter when he writes: The existence of black holes was verified no sooner than 1970 and it is estimated that there exist 100 million, in the Milky Way alone Wilson 37.

The hypothesis of simultaneous and successive Universes had been suggested by Anaximander in the 6th Century B. However, the possibility of the existence of cyclical Universes appears as a physical theory only after the aforementioned solutions obtained by Friedman, specifically the one corresponding to a positive curvature of the spacial part of the space-time, which generates a closed and cyclical Universe Sartori 316. This alternative has a higher probability to occur if the abundance of the dark matter, foreseen by Laplace and Poe, is high enough.

Unlike Aristotle, Epicurus maintained that the Universe is infinite and, therefore, it must be comprised of an infinite number of worlds. Gravitational confirmation of extra-solar planets was performed in 1995 by Mayor and Queloz in Switzerland. They discovered a planet orbiting the star Pegasi-51. Afterwards, Marcy, Butler and other American astronomers, arrived at the discovery of 26 extra-solar planets.

However, optical confirmations occurred only at the end of 1999 thanks to the labor of two groups: The 29 new extra-solar planets discovered to date, rank from 0.

Upsilon of Andromeda, 44 light-years from the Earth. Light waves should travel with a definite speed c with respect to the static ether; then, classically, the velocity of light respect to a moving body such as the Earth should have a value different from c.

An absolute velocity of the Earth with respect to the ether should be deduced from measurements on light waves traveling trough the ether.

The experiment to confirm these predictions was designed and performed in 1887 by A. Michelson the first U. However, the experiment did not produce the expected results, thus contributing to the following obverse conclusions: Regarding the atomic model, Poe formulates some interesting propositions: This means that he suggested the chemical affinity concept to be a function of atomic characteristics.

The chemical affinity concept was proposed for the first time by Barchusen in 1698 Vitoria 32and was also considered by Newton in 1701, as a chemical attraction phenomenon similar to the gravitational one.

Moore 167, Parpart 16. It was only in 1812 that Berzelius proposed that chemical combinations depend on electrostatic attractions, a concept subsequently included by Poe in Eureka. Research performed from 1863 to 1878 defined macroscopic factors of chemical combinations.

It was not until 1917 that, with the new models of atomic bonding Moore 518the dependence of chemical affinity on atomic structure began to be articulated.

An examination of eureka by edgar allan poe

At present, chemical affinity remains as a qualitative concept related to a very important quantitative one: As such, this definition may be applied to the concept presently known as energy of ionization of an ionic a pair, that is, the difference between the ionization potential of the cation and the electronic affinity of the anion that will form an ionic molecule.

This energy of ionization, added to the electrostatic energy developed when the ions approach, integrates the binding energy of the molecule, which reaches its maximum when the interatomic distance has a certain equilibrium value.

This concept was foreseen by Poe when he observed: Man neither employs, nor knows, a force sufficient to bring two atoms into contact. So, it appears that the Divine Volition was the only resort available to Poe to explain the impenetrability of matter and the impossibility for the atomic coalition.

Furthermore, he repeats a previous and interesting concept: Otherwise, they are now driven to such an extent as to overcome the impenetrability of matter, even permitting the above mentioned coalition or fusion of atoms to be increasingly controlled by man IAEA 48. To express such an idea in 1848, without any experimental proof, when an examination of eureka by edgar allan poe theory of the indivisible atom prevailed from Democritus 400 BC to Dalton 1807 AC and long afterwards, reflects another audacity of Poe.

It was necessary to arrive at the end of the 19th Century to begin to perceive, thanks to the works of Becquerel, Curie, Roentgen and Thomson, the atomic complexity of which Poe, somehow, was aware.

As a corollary of this, Poe proposes, speaking of other solar systems: A simple calculation shows that, in a 10 kilograms iron-ball, there are about 1026 atoms of iron. Accordingly to a not-too-recent estimation Dickinson 23the so-called Local Group which includes the Milky Way together the galaxies of Andromeda, Triangle, Cloud of Magallanes and M110has less than 1012 stars.

Therefore, it would be necessary to exist more than 1014 Groups, similar to the Local one, for the Universe to have an amount of stars equivalent to that of iron atoms in a cannon-ball. Such a situation is highly improbable due to the limited volume, age and density of the actual Universe of Stars, corresponding to the Big Bang Cosmology c. An approximate value of the Number d had been estimated by 1900 Blanchard 61but it was exactly determined only around 1920 by Millikan.

Thus, Poe could not have known the famous Number. How, then, did Poe imagine such a proposition?.

Epilogue This analysis suggests new questions, for example: How did Poe perceive the mass-energy equivalence? How did Poe imagine a modern concept about the fusion of atoms? Poe was so convinced about the transcendence of his concepts that he wrote to a friend just before editing Eureka Cappi 2: I say it calmy—but I say it.

Nevertheless, it is as a Poem only that I wish this work to be judged after I am dead. Even if the scientific legacy belonging to Poe has not been granted to date, still, most of his critics accept his literary talent.

Notes a An ionic, heteropolar molecule, is composed by two ions i. The atoms positively charged are called cations and the negative ones, anions. The energy required to remove an electron from an atom to obtain a cation is referred to as the ionization potential. The energy liberated when an atom captures an electron and becomes an anion is known as electron affinity.