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Dark Energy Sing-a-Long

10 Jun 2009, 04:52 UTC
Dark Energy Sing-a-Long
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There's a whiff of dark energy in the air this week, permeating the cultural zeitgeist. First, our new fearless leader here at Discovery Space, Ian O'Neill, has a terrific IM interview up with Dr. Richard Orbousy about the latter's master plan for harnessing dark energy to build a futuristic warp drive. Because wormholes are just so 2007, ya'll. Sure, it'll take the energy equivalent of the entire mass of Jupiter -- or, according to less optimistic calculations, 1 trillion Jupiters -- but that's just a technology problem.Second, physics blogger Andrew Jaffe over at Leaves on the Line reports on the final exam results for his latest crop of graduate students. Apparently said students grappled mightily with the problem of the cosmological constant -- a leading candidate to explain this bizarre phenomenon of dark energy that is causing our universe to accelerate at an ever-faster rate. Per Andrew: There was one question that almost all students got wrong, however. I asked about the “Cosmological Constant Problem” and whether it could be solved by the theory of cosmic inflation. The Cosmological Constant is a number that appears in General Relativity, and, although we can’t predict it for certain, we are pretty sure ...

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