A historical perspective on modified Newtonian dynamics

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I review the history and development of Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) beginning with the phenomenological basis as it existed in the early 1980s. I consider Milgrom's papers of 1983 introducing the idea and its consequences for galaxies and galaxy groups, as well as the initial reactions, both negative and positive. The early criticisms were primarily on matters of principle, such as the absence of conservation laws and perceived cosmological problems; an important step in addressing these issues was the development of the Lagrangian-based non-relativistic theory of Bekenstein and Milgrom. This theory led to the development of a tentative relativistic theory that formed the basis for later multi-field theories of gravity. On an empirical level the predictive success of the idea with respect to the phenomenology of galaxies presents considerable challenges for cold dark matter. For MOND the essential challenge remains the absence of a generally accepted theoretical underpinning of the idea and, thus, cosmological predictions. I briefly review recent progress in this direction. Finally I discuss the role and sociology of unconventional ideas in astronomy in the presence of a strongly entrenched standard paradigm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-138
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2015

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