Dark Energy


dark energy 

I often like reading The Stranger’s blog called Slog, and today I ran across a post called “Let’s Talk about Dark Energy.” I’m not usually a fan of Charles Mudede’s posts, but this one was pretty cool. He did reference an article by Jennifer Oulette titled: “Probing the Dark Side of the Universe” from Discovery News. The following comes from that article:


On July 13, 1998, the New Yorker featured one of its classic cartoons (by Jack Ziegler), depicting a TV newscaster somberly announcing, "Scientists revealed today that everything we thought we knew about the universe is wrongedy-wrong-wrong." That’s pretty much sums up how the physics and astronomy crowd felt in 1998, when news broke that the expansion of our universe is actually accelerating, due to the effects of a mysterious thing called dark energy.

Ziegler’s TV newscaster had a point: dark energy changed everything we thought we knew about the composition (and ultimate fate) of our universe. Scientists currently estimate it accounts for a whopping 72% of everything the universe is made of, followed by 24% dark matter, and 4% "normal" matter — the latter being every star, galaxy, planet, and so forth contained in the cosmos. (My spousal unit, Caltech cosmologist Sean Carroll, is fond of telling how folks are always giving him grief that we only know about 4% of all the matter in the universe. "The miracle is that we understand 4%!" he exclaims.)


Pretty awesome stuff. Ultimately it affirms my belief that while, as humans, we may always be searching for more answers to our questions, it is likely that we ultimately have to accept that we will never have all the answers.


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