Immanual Kant, the German Philosopher claimed that his Gaseous Hypothesis of the origin of the earth was based on the sound principles of Newton’s laws of gravitation and rotatory motion. In the beginning his hypothesis acclaimed world-wide appreciation, but, later on it was disproved as it was based on enormous concepts and wrong application on Newton’s law of gravitation. In-spite of severe criticism the hypothesis was considered a great step forward in the field of cosmogony.
The Origin Of The Earth
Kant postulated his Gaseous hypothesis of the origin of the earth on the basis of a few assumptions. He assumed that supernaturally created primordial matter was scattered in the universe. In fact, Kant also said that there was a primordal slowly rotating cloud of gas and matter comprised of very cold, solid and motionless particles. In terms of modern language it can be said that the temperature of primordial matter was near about 273°c or absolute zero or 0°k. This was the reason that cold matter was initially motionless. He further assumed that the particles began to collide against each other under their mutual gravitational attractions.
This mutual attractions and collision between the particles generated random motion in the primordial matter. Due to collision heat was generated and thus, temperature of the primordial matter started rising. Kant also said that random motion of the particles also generated rotatory motion in the primordial matter. Thus, the original cold and motionless cloud of matter became in due course a vast hot Nebula and started spinning around its axis.
The rise in temperature also changed the state of primordial matter from solid to gaseous particles. With continuous rise in temperature and rate of rotatory motion the Nebula started expanding in size.
According to Immanual Kant as the heat increased, the size of Nebula increased and as the size of Nebula increased, the angular velocity or rotatory speed further increased and thus the rotatory speed became so fast that the centrifugal force exceeded the attractional or centripetal force. The Nebula started spinning so rapidly that an irregular ring was separated from the middle part of the Nebula and was ultimately thrown off due to centrifugal force. By the repetition of teh same process a system of concentric rings were separated from the Nebula.The residual central mass of the Nebula remained as the sun.The irregularity of the rings caused the development of the cores for the formation of the corresponding planets.In other words, all the matters of each rings were aggregated at a point to form a core or knot which ultimately grew as a planet in due course of time. Thus, it is apparent that according to Kant the earth was formed due to aggregation of all the matter of the ring which was separated from Nebula due to centrifugal force. By the repetition of the same process rings were separated from the newly formed planets and the materials of each rings were condensed to form satellite of the concerned planets. Thus, the whole solar system comprised of the sun, nine planets and their satellites were formed.
Though Immanual Kant based his gaseous hypothesis on scientific principles to solve the problem of the origin of the earth and solar system ,but his hypothesis has been rendered baseless because it is based on several erroneous facts of science.
1. According to Kant there was a primordial matter in the universe, but, he did not explain the source of the origin of the primordial matter.
2. Kant did not explain the source of energy to cause random motion of the particles of the primordial matter which were cold and motionless in the initial stage.
3.The collision among the particles of the primordial matter can never generates rotatory motion in it. It is an erroneous statements of mechanism.
4. Kant assumption that the rotatory speed of the Nebula increased with the increase of its size was against the law of conservation of angular momentum.
However, the importance of Kant’s hypothesis lies in the fact that it was first scientific attempt for the explanation of the origin of the earth. Kant’s hypothesis plays a great role for the postulation of Nebular hypothesis by Laplace.
- K.Siddhartha – “The Earth’s Dynamic Surface”
- S.Singh – Geomorphology
- Strahler & Strahler – Physical Geography
- M.J.Shelby – Earth’s Changing Surface