Feeds

Scientists lighten up on dark energy

'Einstein was right when he said he was wrong'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate because of ripples in space-time that stretch beyond the observable edges of the universe, according to a paper published in Physical Review Letters.

This theory runs counter to current scientific thinking, which holds that so-called dark energy is responsible for this phenomenon. No one has ever seen any dark energy, but scientists think that it acts as a kind of anti-gravity, forcing everthing in the universe away from everything else.

When Einstein first put his theories of relativity together, he included a cosmological constant, a number that accounted for this acceleration of the universe's expansion. He later referred to this as his greatest blunder, but his ideas have since been rehabilitated.

But now, Edward Kolb of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory says that Einstein "was right when he said he was wrong", according to a Reuters report.

Antonio Riotto at Italy's National Nuclear Physics Institute in Padova, who also worked on the research, told Reuters: "No mysterious dark energy is required. If dark energy were the size that theories predict ... it would have prevented the existence of everything we know in our cosmos."

Instead, he says, the acceleration is an after effect of the big bang that has not been properly accounted for.

However, the scientific community remains sceptical. Michael Turner from the University of Chicago actually coined the term "dark energy" and in 1990, co-authored a paper with Kolb. He says: "Their paper is going to get enormous scrutiny, and my own guess is that in the end, they'll be wrong."

"But they may get the last laugh. And the interesting thing is, if they get the last laugh, I doubt that this is the only effect of these long ripples. We may have to make some other changes." ®

Related stories

Global particle accelerator gets the big chill
CERN celebrates 50th birthday
UK boffins sniff for Higgs boson

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.