Nature of universe is still a mystery to Nobel winners

Oct 04, 2011 by Kerry Sheridan
Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess of the United States and US-Australian Brian Schmidt won the 2011 Nobel Physics Prize Tuesday for their research on supernovae, the Nobel jury said.

They won the Nobel Prize for changing our understanding of the universe, but their discovery left an even larger mystery -- what is this dark energy that is propelling the universe to expand so fast?

US Saul Perlmutter, 52, and his one-time competitors Adam Riess and Brian Schmidt shared the Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday for their discovery in 1998 that the universe was expanding at an accelerating rate.

Back then, Riess and Schmidt were working at University of California, Berkeley, literally down the hill from a competing team led by Perlmutter at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Both groups were analyzing telescope data and were in a race to be first, but also to be right.

By studying dozens of distant supernovae, or , they found that light from the dying stars was weaker than expected, meaning they were further away than thought.

That meant the universe was expanding at an accelerating rate after the that created it some 14 billion years ago, and galaxies in the universe are on a path toward ripping apart.

At first, Riess was convinced that he had to be wrong.

"Everybody knew the universe was supposed to be slowing down, not speeding up," the 41-year-old told AFP.

"It took weeks of going through and checking everything over to make sure it wasn't a stupid error. After a few weeks I couldn't find anything that seemed wrong."

Then, the two teams -- the Supernova Cosmology Project led by Perlmutter and the competing High-z Supernova Search team -- started to hear that they were each seeing the same thing.

American physicist Saul Perlmutter, a joint winner of the 2011 Nobel Physics prize, said the Nobel Prize Committee must have had the wrong number because he did not hear the news from them Tuesday that he was a winner.

"Then it got really exciting because we all started thinking that this might be right."

But while Riess shook off the disbelief that surrounded the early days of his discovery, he has since been confronted with an even larger mystery that astronomers and physicists are not sure how to solve.

"Really, we created a bigger question than we answered," said Riess, a professor of astronomy and physics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

"We discovered that the universe is accelerating and it is filled with dark energy, but the question we created is, 'What is dark energy?' We don't understand the physics of it.

"It seems to live at the nexus between quantum mechanics and general relativity, two of our great theories of physics, but it lives just at that nexus where they don't work together."

Perlmutter told AFP he too is grappling with the enormity of what they found, and did not find.

This undated photo courtesy of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland shows Adam Riess. Riess was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

"It's a mysterious force... it may be three-quarters of all the stuff in the universe is this form and we did not know that before."

Albert Einstein, while crafting his theory of general relativity in 1917, came to believe there was some cosmological constant, a force that opposed gravity and kept the universe from collapsing into itself. Later he dismissed this idea as a major blunder.

According to Perlmutter, more data is needed to narrow down the theoretical alternatives that come into play now that astronomers know the is expanding fast.

"It could be that we will have to modify Einstein's theory of relativity," said Perlmutter.

"We need to build new telescopes and instruments to do it," he told AFP. "The ball is in our court again we have to give theorists more data."

at the Illinois-based Fermilab run by the Department of Energy are gearing up for the launch next year of the Dark Energy Survey, or DES, which uses the Dark Energy Camera, called DECam.

The project will hunt for clues about dark energy "by measuring the distribution of galaxies throughout space, how the gravity of dark matter distorts their shapes, how galaxies cluster and the brightness of exploding stars called supernovae," said Fermilab.

The European Space Agency also plans to launch a space telescope known as Euclid to study dark energy by 2019.

Riess said the Hubble Space Telescope has been a major tool for their work so far but the NASA project under way to built a more advanced version, the multi-billion dollar James Webb Space Telescope, could propel science further.

"We have struggled theoretically to understand it, so we use telescopes like Hubble now and hopefully the James Webb someday to get the best clues we can about the nature of ," said Riess.

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User comments : 25

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Callippo
1.1 / 5 (11) Oct 04, 2011
"We need to build new telescopes and instruments to do it" - such approach would apparently form more employment, than the conceptual thinking. Every large influential community will adjust its rules in such a way, these rules are serving this community, not the rest of people, who are paying it.
maxcypher
4.7 / 5 (10) Oct 04, 2011
Callippo: Hogwash! Perlmutter is absolutely correct in saying we need more data to help us determine which of the many competing theories are correct. Building better scientific instruments is the way to collect meaningful data. It's ignorant to think that he's just trying to stuff his pockets with more cash. That's just nuts!
SR71BlackBird
5 / 5 (10) Oct 04, 2011
Hahahaha Callippo, I keep seeing you around here and you always seem to be trolling, in some form. I mean, you can't possibly believe that? I mean, yeah, obviously jobs are implied when building new scientific instruments, but its not like scientist are holding back their discoveries so that other scientist may get an opportunity for work. If you knew anything about science, you'd know that theories are based on observations, and observations are based upon measurement. We need new telescopes and instruments because we need higher accuracy!!! Simple as that.
Callippo
1 / 5 (10) Oct 04, 2011
Perlmutter is absolutely correct in saying we need more data to help us determine which of the many competing theories are correct
Nope, we have enough indicia already. After all, just before one hundred years the physicists have enough evidence for dense aether model. It's not theory based on one or two evidences, it's based on dozens already existing indicia. The formal models are poorly conditioned by their very nature so they're difficult to distinguish each other - the logical models don't suffer with this problem.
but its not like scientists are holding back their discoveries so that other scientist may get an opportunity for work
It's exactly the way, you're describing, as Robert Wilson (a former president of APS) recognized and named before many years already.

http://www.aether...memo.gif

Callippo
1 / 5 (9) Oct 04, 2011
you knew anything about science, you'd know that theories are based on observations, and observations are based upon measurement
I don't deny it - I'm just saying, we have enough information to decide, whether the neighboring reality fits the random Universe model or not. For me it's solved question already - and believe me, I don't living in illusions. I'm pretty hard realist. One evidence is, the dense aether model is ignored for one hundred years in similar way, like the cold fusion is ignored for twenty years. The lack of verification is what indicates the potential in the contemporary epoch.

Do you know, how Stalin recognized the importance of nuclear fission for atom bomb development in Soviet Russia? Easily: all publications about fission magically disappeared from mainstream press before WWW II. You all are pretty stupid, people.
Callippo
1 / 5 (9) Oct 04, 2011
The determination of accelerated universe speed is indeed a great experimental achievement. But with using of water surface model of space-time it's very easy to predict it and what's more - to recognize, this effect is actually dependent on the wavelength of light, in which we are observing it. No expansion of Universe actually exists, because for wavelengths longer than CMBR wavelength the red shift effect is reversed. It's geometric effect, not dynamic one.

Everyone of you can check it yourself, if you don't believe me. But if you will not do it, then you're just a troll - nobody requires you to believe in things without evidence.
vidyunmaya
1 / 5 (9) Oct 04, 2011
Sub: Cosmology Studies-Science to Progress
Cosmology needs best of brains trust.Understanging Nature and Philosophy is a long way for Comprehension. Basic functions-Source,Fields,Flows,Reflectors are ignored-Leave alone protective functional Index. From and above these Concepts, One needs to define Cosmology and identify Prime concepts.
See: BOOKS BY VIDYARDHI NANDURI [1993-2011]-
http://vidyardhic...pot.com/
http://www.scribd...Dec-1999
kaasinees
1.3 / 5 (13) Oct 04, 2011
By studying dozens of distant supernovae, or stellar explosions, they found that light from the dying stars was weaker than expected, meaning they were further away than thought.
That meant the universe was expanding at an accelerating rate after the Big Bang that created it some 14 billion years ago, and galaxies in the universe are on a path toward ripping apart.


Anyone else realizes the stupidity of this logic?
omatumr
Oct 05, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Ethelred
4 / 5 (8) Oct 05, 2011
The empirically observed

a.) Accelerated expansion of the Universe, and
Yes THAT is empiraclly observed.

b.) Neutron repulsion in every nucleus with two or more neutrons
That is an unobserved bit of nonsense unless you have finally admitted that the Pauli Exclusion Principle exists.

Basically you are lying or delusional about the acceleration supporting you when that CLEARLY makes a cyclic Universe impossible.

Your claim that the expansion and acceleration are due to this NEVER observed repulsion would make the neutrons cores that you claim are in ALL stars impossible.

Join The Cause. Force Physorg To Enforce Their Own Rules On Oliver.

COUNTER SPAM OLIVER NOW.

Ethelred
kevinrtrs
1.3 / 5 (13) Oct 05, 2011
"It could be that we will have to modify Einstein's theory of relativity," said Perlmutter.

Could it be that someone is finally getting to the crux of the matter - a new cosmology/cosmogeny model? Einstein's theories should be modified to apply to the larger cosmological arena, e.g. based on the acceleration of space-time.
Ethelred
4.4 / 5 (14) Oct 05, 2011
Sorry Kevin, but nothing is going fix the time problems in the Bible. The Great Flood simply didn't occur despite Genesis having it occur about 2400BC. Which is smack in the middle of the Egyptian pyramid building period. So playing with astrophysics and abusing General Relativity isn't going to change history.

Ethelred
rawa1
2 / 5 (4) Oct 05, 2011
..they found that light from the dying stars was weaker than expected, meaning they were further away than thought. That meant the universe was expanding at an accelerating rate...Anyone else realizes the stupidity of this logic?
This logic is not bulletproof, but it's basically correct. It's based on the inverse square law, which is valid for exactly 3D space. Every violation of it indicates extradimensions or (when we consider, the space dimensions is a time dimension at the same moment) the violation from linear expansion of space-time.

After all, on the same approach the prediction of Universe symmetry in dense aether model is based. Last July, US astronomers announced surprising results from a high-altitude balloon experiment called ARCADE-2, which had made measurements of the sky at radio wavelengths. The background radio emission, which is the component smoothly distributed across the whole sky, was six-times brighter than inverse square law predicts.
rawa1
2 / 5 (4) Oct 05, 2011
Indeed, the consequential thinking would lead us to the conclusion, every force, which violates the inverse square law (Cassimir force, Van der Waals force, various dipole forces, etc) is a manifestation of extradimensions, too. It means, these extradimensions aren't hidden as string theorists consider - they're quite macroscopic and they're all around us. The thinking of string theorists about extradimensions is schematic, they believe in multiverse, but they're not willing to admit, the hyperspaces with various dimensions would penetrate mutually. Partially because such model would violate the Lorentz symmetry, on which string theory is based too. But we actually cannot observe extradimensions without Lorentz symmetry broken. It's like to attempt to observe the underwater with surface water ripples without allowing their dispersion in underwater. In this way these two main postulates of string theory contradict mutually, which leads into intrinsic fuzziness of string theory solutions
Pyle
5 / 5 (2) Oct 05, 2011
"By studying dozens of distant supernovae, or stellar explosions, they found that light from the dying stars was weaker than expected, meaning they were further away than thought.
That meant the universe was expanding at an accelerating rate after the Big Bang that created it some 14 billion years ago, and galaxies in the universe are on a path toward ripping apart."

Anyone else realizes the stupidity of this logic?

kaas, It actually looks more like a bad translation of scientific theory into laymen's terms. The logic isn't the flaw, the statement is just wrong.

It kind of reminds me of the game where you whisper something in someone's ear, they whisper to the next, and so on. By the time it gets to the 5th or 6th person the statement is unrecognizable. I can kind of trace the trajectory of the quoted statement and it would be fun to have another publicist/journalist unversed in astrophysics/cosmology rewrite it again. Kind of like kev's comments actually.

Pyle
5 / 5 (8) Oct 05, 2011
Oh and Zephyr is a crank. Zephyr = Callippo = rawa1 = etc.
He doesn't care about the scientific method. He is highly intelligent, reads and misunderstands loads and loads of physics, and then proceeds to make crap up and spouts it out as fact because it sounds good in his deluded mind.

He thinks if he can convince himself that something sounds nice it must be true. He knows a lot, and actually gets lucky sometimes, but mostly he is a plague to the boards here because you can't tell what is real and what is made up.

It is best to just ignore him.

We need new telescopes and instruments because we need higher accuracy!!! Simple as that.
Not so simple, but yeah. Hard to exploit knowledge you don't have. How are we ever going to develop zero-point energy planetary drives without first understanding the accelerating expansion of the universe?
Callippo
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 05, 2011
He doesn't care about the scientific method
What the scientific method is? There is deductive and inductive thinking only. For example, when you observe the water surface from proximity with its own ripples, it appears chaotic and fuzzy. With increasing distance the spreading of ripples becomes more and more organized and deterministic. Under such a situation you'll make no mistake, when you'll apply deterministic regression and you'll try to find the reductionistic model of your findings.

But when the distance increases even more, then the deterministic approach used for surface description will become misleading, because all ripples will disperse into underwater again. The deterministically looking universe is apparently a feature of limited zone of observable Universe. Only objects of moderate size in the Universe are spherical, these very close or distant ones are random. At the proximity or very large distances it appears as fuzzy, as mutually overlapping random blobs.
Ethelred
3 / 5 (6) Oct 05, 2011
It is best to just ignore him.
He may have a point somewhere in this time. Amongst all the usual crap.

Does anyone here know what might distinguish an accelerating expansion from a Universe that isn't quite flat? Or is the same thing in the first place?

Where I am getting at is the sphere vs saddle shaped universe. For decades many astrophysicists assumed the Universe was exactly flat simply because it appeared to be close to flat. Some assumed the Universe might be just barely closed like Hawking's A Brief History Of Time. I don't know if anyone ever looked what a non-flat open Universe geometry would appear as to any real extent until lately.

Ethelred
Pyle
5 / 5 (6) Oct 05, 2011
Eth: WMAP puts the universe as very close to flat or extremely large, anyway. My thoughts are that this doesn't go very far to explain our red shift observations regarding the accelerating expansion. But I can't do the math so take my musings for what they are: a layman's sporadically informed opinion.

Again, Zephyr is extremely intelligent, but he seems to drift into intuition based arguments that lack the appropriate observations to support them. He ignores findings he doesn't like, selectively samples from things that support his version of reality, but seems to want everybody to believe what he has to say based on his superior intuitiveness, or whatever he wants to call it, rather than observations of reality.

Again, if the universe isn't flat there is going to be a change in the meaning/measurements of expansion, but it doesn't do enough to explain our red shift observations.

(I notice that there really are LOTS of recent non-flat acceleration papers. Wow.)
Deesky
4.3 / 5 (6) Oct 05, 2011
Again, Zephyr is extremely intelligent, but he seems to drift into intuition based arguments that lack the appropriate observations to support them. He ignores findings he doesn't like, selectively samples from things that support his version of reality

That doesn't sound very intelligent to me!
Ethelred
4 / 5 (8) Oct 06, 2011
Oh goody Oliver and Kasinee think that a very reasonable question deserves a one. I do respond in kind you guys.

Of coarse for Oliver ALL questions are a problem. He can't anything anymore it seems. Kasinee well I guess that is all he is capable of giving and getting ones.

Ethelred
A2G
3.9 / 5 (7) Oct 08, 2011
Oliver, you may with all your heart believe that your theories are correct, but continually posting here makes you look a bit nutty. Please stop. As for those proposing that we need no more funding for research. The money spent on research does not vaporize. Think of the those who worked on the LHC. They were paid and then fed their families with what they were paid. The money did not disappear. It went back into the world economy.
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Oct 08, 2011
Does anyone here know what might distinguish an accelerating expansion from a Universe that isn't quite flat?
In dense aether model the Universe appears expanding, when you would observe from intrinsic perspective and collapsing, when you would observe it from extrinsic perspective. The intrinsic perspective is mediated with light of shorter wavelengths, then the wavelengths of CMBR, the extrinsic perspective is mediated with longer wavelengths. It just means, the notion of Universe expansion or collapse depends on the wavelength of light in which we're observing it - i.e. it's the geometric effect of light dispersion with CMBR noise.

But we have another indicia/evidence of steady state Universe. For example, some remote galaxies appear in the same way, like the close galaxies. They're formed with stars of high metallicity, which would have not enough of time to evolve, if the Universe would be of finite age.

http://wellbalanc...7001.htm
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Oct 08, 2011
He ignores findings he doesn't like
? Which ones, for example? I don't ignore any phenomena, which seemingly violate the existing theories.
Zephyr is extremely intelligent
Nope, just well informed. Actually today - at time of information explosion - it's quite enough for finding of correct predictions. The specialists are lost in their amount, just because they're specialized to their subject only. I do care about details only when its absolutely necessary. If we would depend on subtleties too much, then our extrapolation will become poorly conditioned and fragile. The devil is in details. The intelligent people often bother with details too much (Sheldon Cooper as an iconic example). The complex thinking does your ideas overly complex, special and fragile (parameter dependent).
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Oct 08, 2011
Recently is has been found, the remote galaxies are relatively larger, than the close ones. Which is problem for Big Bang cosmology, because if Universe expands, the size of galaxies should grow in time and the remote galaxies should appear smaller accordingly.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1011.4956

In AWT such finding is trivial, if we realize, the size of objects larger than the wavelength of CMBR can be observed only in the light, the wavelength of which is larger than the wavelength of CMBR ("simillia simillibus observentur"). So whereas the massive objects are expanding at the microscopic level, their macroscopic size decreases. Intuitively it's evident, the images of remote galaxies are blurred in visible light with travel of light through tiny density fluctuations of vacuum, so that their contours grow in similar way, like the shape of remote objects, which are observed through layer of fog. But it's only the image of objects, what expands with distance, not the objects itself.
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Oct 08, 2011
Before four hundreds of years the astronomers did a significant achievement with description of solar system with geocentric model, which was based on epicycles following the intrinsic perspective of planetary motion. Later the thinking of people separated from this perspective, when people like the Copernicus and Galileo realized, the model of solar system would appear a much simpler, if we would imagine it from outside. Such perspective is actually unavailable for us yet - but the success of heliocentric model demonstrates, the extrinsic perspective is more correct, because it can be generalized more easily.

Now this situation repeats again, when scientists are adhering on the conceptual model, which is based on intrinsic perspective only. So we should free our minds and try to think about universe from more general perspective again. I do believe, it would simplify our understanding in the same way, like the heliocentric model before four hundreds of years.

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