News from the world of maths: Gravity kills dark energy? (16/02/2006)

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Gravity kills dark energy? (16/02/2006)

In 1998, scientists found that the rate at which the universe expands is accelerating. This was extremely puzzling, as none of the standard theories could account for the acceleration. So scientists decided that something unknown and mysterious must be responsible, and they called it dark energy. But now three scientists claim that we may not need dark energy after all, but that the acceleration can be explained by a modified model of gravity. They altered the equations from the theory of general relativity in a way prescribed by cosmological theories based on a universe with more than four dimensions. When applied to short distances (on the cosmological scale), the differences between the old and new models are not noticeable, however, on ultra large distances the new equations predict the accelerated expansion. Moreover, the researchers say, the predictions match observations extremely well and don't conflict with other observations.

You can find out more about the new model for gravity on Physicsweb, and more about dark energy in Plus article New light shed on dark energy.


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