THE EARTH IN THE UNIVERSE.
The space age was initiated on 4 October 1957, when the first Soviet artificial satellite was launched. Then, between 1961 and 1963, Gagarin, Titov, Nikolaev, Popovich, Bykovskii, and Tereshkova made their heroic entering into space. As a consequence, the science of the Earth is now going into a new phase of reappraisal and vigorous development. The Earth viewed from interplanetary space, the application of the advances in physics and modern technology to the study of the Earth's deep interior and the remote fringes of the terrestrial atmosphere, the incorporation of new disciplines into the science of our planet—all these call for a fresh approach to many seemingly familiar phenomena.
This book presents a series of articles, covering a broad range of subjects, by a group of Soviet scientists writing on some of the problems of modern science, such as the structure of matter, the nature of physical fields, the formation and evolution of the Earth and the universe, solar activity and the Earth, and the interaction between the Earth's biosphere and physical fields. Some facts from the history of science which are related to the "cosmization" of natural science (the emergence of science into the reaches of outer space) are also presented. Many of the ideas expressed in the articles of this collection draw upon the works of great Russian scientists of the past, such as K. E. Tsiolkovskii and V.I. Vernadskii, whose topical interest has been revived with the onset of the space age.
E. T. Faddeev's article is a philosophical essay aiming to summarize the contemporary stage of development of science, which is at present going through a period of transition, and which has come to play a vital role in human affairs. This period of transition is characterized by the "cosmi zation" of science, which has provided man with the means of launching himself into space and mastering cosmic forces.
In Part One, "Matter and Physical Fields", the noted Soviet physicist D. D. Ivanenko presents in his article "The Structure of Matter and Attempts
to Create aUnified Field Theory" a brief review of modern conceptions on the structure of matter and on the nature of physical fields. This article is presented with the article of Vladimirov, in which the author discusses the proceedings of the First Soviet Conference on Gravitation (1961) and dwells on the modern views on gravitation. Science is now striving to determine the link between the forces of universal attraction and the innermost properties of matter residing inside nucleons, and the article traces out the course of research in this field.
The structure and evolution of the universe are discussed in the articles of Part Two. This part of the book opens with an article by the eminent Soviet astrophysicist, Academician V.A. Ambartsumyan, who describes in a simple and lively style the fundamental facts which have crystallized into what is known as extragalactic astronomy. This field comprises the study of the remotest regions of the universe, as far as the human eye, aided by modern powerful telescopes, can see. The investiga tion of these "limits" of the universe brings up enormously complex cosmological problems hinting at a general theory on the structure of cosmic space. A point of great interest is the description of the nonstation ary processes that take place in the remote regions of the universe and indicate that the latter is in a continual state of development and trans formation.
B. A. Vorontsov-Vel'yaminov points out in his article that some processes of this kind suggest the possible existence of unknown forces which relegate to the background the gravitational forces that are all-powerful in our region of the universe.
The problems of extragalactic astronomy were discussed at the meeting of the Commission on Cosmogony of the Astronomical Council of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1961). This aspect is treated by V. S. Brezhnev.