Dark Energy Discussion

dark_energy_discussionI was sent an interesting link a while ago* that I thought I would share with you. It is a really good discussion about Dark Energy – what do we think it is, why we think it exists, why some think it does not, and how to move forward with the discussion of what is, after all apparently *most* of our universe. It is a panel discussion that was hosted by the Institute for Arts and Ideas (which I *love* the idea of!). The discussion is described on the site as follows:

Dark energy is supposed to make up two-thirds of the universe. But troublingly CERN has yet to find any evidence. Have we got our story of the universe wrong – might dark energy be the aether of our time? Do we need a new account of the universe, or is it too soon for such radical solutions?

The Panel
The BBC’s Sue Nelson asks Templeton Prize winning cosmologist George Ellis, Cambridge physicist David Tong and mathematician Peter Cameron to seek the invisible.

Ok, the “troublingly CERN has yet to find any evidence” part puzzles me a bit, since nobody’s really expecting CERN to find any evidence of it, in any large scale experiments that I’m aware of (please correct me if I am wrong)… Is the writer of the abstract confusing Dark Energy and Dark Matter? Even then I think it is an odd phrase to lead with, especially if you don’t mention the huge amount of evidence from astronomy in the same footing… but I imagine the abstract was maybe not written by a physicist?

Nevertheless, I strongly recommend it as a thought-provoking discussion, and you can find it embedded below. Do also check out their many other interesting debates, archived on the site too (Warning- You might find it slightly annoying – like I do – that the playback stops regularly to try to force you to open a subscription account with them, even though it is free. On the other hand, it is good material, so maybe worth getting over it and signing up…? I will admit that after several reloads to move me forward through the show, the halting stopped me from getting to the end, so if they all start saying Dark Energy is due to Angels or something, I’m not recommending that bit – unless they provide evidence.):

Direct link here.


*Thanks Frankie.

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7 Responses to Dark Energy Discussion

  1. So I’m watching this show called Space’s Deepest Secrets and they’re talking about the “discovery” of dark energy in 1998. Dark energy is simply the force that we do not understand and can’t identify or locate that is causing the universe’s expansion to keep accelerating as it expands, rather then slowing down as it expands, as what was once generally accepted. Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity does not explain why the expansion of the universe continues to accelerate and the scientists on this show don’t seem to be able to come up with a theory to explain why this is happening. They’ve recently added a Lambda back into Einstein’s equation or formula which explains the theory of general relativity to account for this unexplained phenomenon. (The reason I say “back” is because the Lambda was originally put into the formula because Einstein needed it to make the the formula work in a static universe. Before Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was more than just our own Milky Way galaxy by discovering other galaxies, and that this expanded universe was, in fact, expanding, all of the scientists, including Einstein thought the universe was static. Einstein added the Lambda into his formula to make it “work” with a non-expanding universe. The formula was much less elegant with the Lambda included, and Einstein was thrilled when Hubble discovered the universe was expanding because his formula explaining general relativity was so much better without the Lambda. Now that it has been added back in to try to explain the fact the universe’s expansion continues to speed up, the formula is no longer “pure”.) It occurred to me while watching the show that the scientists have it all wrong regarding dark energy being a force within our universe forcing the expansion ever outward. I think it is possible that what is causing the expansion to accelerate is the fact that outside the borders of our expanding universe is not space, but rather nothingness. So what is causing the accelerating expansion is not a force within the universe, but rather the universe is rushing outward to fill an empty void of nothingness…not unlike how air rushes in to fill a vacuum. If this void of nothingness goes on forever, then the universe will continue to accelerate as it expands ever outward to fill the void of nothingness. I would imagine this void of nothingness would not have anything…no time, no matter, no dark matter, just an empty void of nothingness. It wouldn’t even be dark – it would simply be the complete absence of anything. Does anyone in Facebook land know how to do the math that could test this hypothesis, or know someone who does? My idea has probably already been considered by minds much brighter than mine, but you never know. Sometimes it takes an outsider to look at something in a different way to explain something we can’t grasp. This could explain the ever increasing speed of our expanding universe, and the idea is kind of beautiful in its simplicity. Who knows?