Three Americans physicists took home the Nobel Prize today for demonstrating that the expansion of the known universe is accelerating. The discovery supports the notion that a mysterious force called “dark energy” is pushing the cosmos apart. Dark energy has been a top priority for many in the astrophysics community, because the long standing conventional wisdom was that the expansion of the universe is actually slowing down due to gravitational forces. The notion that dark energy may be “pushing” harder than gravity is “pulling” has major repercussions for how the universe will look in the distant future.
Last year, I spoke with bestselling author and Columbia physics professor Brian Greene about why the existence of dark energy spells trouble for stargazers.