By Will Sullivan
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
This is especially for the cosmology wunderkinds among us geeks; hey, it takes geeks of all kinds! Among “the rest of us,” we merely semi-brilliant folk, Einstein may be most famous for his General Relativity theory, which is mind-blowing enough; however, he also famously regretted to himself and the truly brilliant astro-physics cognocenti what he felt at the time was his truly greatest “blunder”: that he had to “fit” a tiny, slight constant into his calculations to make the whole thing “work.” Everything “worked,” but only with that tiny nudge, that he apparently felt may have been dishonest.
Ironically, he himself was not dishonest about that “nudge,” and his calculations surely showed such (to those capable of understanding them!). And, here’s where it all gets a little sticky, or weird, and pretty cool…
It seems that his “cosmological constant” nudge actually has been found to be a real, measurable phenomenon. Scientists using both Earth-based and spaced-based telescopes across spectra have confirmed that so-called “dark energy” is driving the universe apart—counteracting the consolidating effects of gravity. As a matter of perceived fact, the universe is accelerating its expansion effects. The tiny force that can account for this effect—such that even totally empty space has mass (and therefore energy)—corresponds pretty much exactly with Einstein’s “cosmological constant” nudge.
Not that anyone truly understands it all—just that it fits calculations. Perhaps it “looks” or operates thusly:
No one understands gravity—the attractions of objects in curved spacetime to one another—let alone the increasing (tiny) force that is driving everything away from everything else, at an accelerating rate, that counteracts the gravity force.
“Dark energy” is the answer, but we don’t even understand the question…although Einstein did, intuitively…he just made it all work out, and was right, in the end. His other major regret–in effect that he couldn’t calculate or overtly make room for “God”–has yet to be fulfilled…or has it? Hopefully all the things we don’t understand right now, we will come to understand in time…
Comments always are welcome!