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George Darwin, British astronomer and geophysicist

George Darwin, British astronomer and geophysicist

H404/0192

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

George Darwin. Portrait of Sir George Howard Darwin (1845-1912), British astronomer & geophysicist. Son of botanist Charles Darwin, George's most important work regarded the Moon's origin. He used a theory that stated that tides had slowed the Earth's rotation & caused the Moon to recede from the Earth. By extrapolating this into the past, he & Osmond Fisher proposed in 1879 that the Moon had been ripped from the rapidly- spinning Earth 4.5 billion years ago, leaving behind a basin that became the Pacific Ocean. Although the idea is now generally discredited, it was the first cosmological theory to be based on the principles of mathematical physics.

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