Sunday, December 09, 2007

Shades of dark and grey

"Astronomers may have doomed the universe simply by looking at it," according to a report in New Scientist. Evidently, because quantum physics holds that by observing something you can change it, these scientists posit that by measuring the amount of dark energy in the universe they have increased the chances of the universe's catastrophic decay.

The story of dark energy begins in 1917 when Einstein proposed what he called the "cosmological constant," a sort of negative gravitational force that counterbalanced the universe's gravitation and kept it stable. He later renounced his theory in the face of evidence that the universe was relentlessly expanding outwards. But in the 1990s, when it was discovered that the expansion of the universe was accelerating and dark energy was posited as the force that caused this expansion, Einstein's cosmological constant was exonerated.

If the discovery of dark energy indeed has precipitated a premature end to the universe, it may ultimately be found to be due to the inexorable conversion of Einsteinian grey matter to dark matter (which may be related to dark energy through scalar fields). The quantum effects of the incursion of Einstein's brain into the world have yet to be fully measured.

No comments: