‘Time to get serious.’ The PowerPoint slide, teal letters popping off a black background, stared back at a hotel ballroom full of cosmologists. They gathered in Chicago last winter for a “New Views of the Universe” conference, and Sean Carroll, then at the University of Chicago, had taken it upon himself to give his theorist colleagues their marching orders. "There was a heyday for talking out all sorts of crazy ideas,” Carroll, now at Caltech, recently explained. That heyday would have been the heady, post-1998 period when Michael Turner might stand up at a conference and turn to anyone voicing caution and say, “Can’t we be exuberant for a while?” But now has come the metaphorical morning after, and with it a sobering realization: Maybe the universe isn’t simple enough for dummies like us humans. Maybe it’s not just our powers of perception that aren’t up to the task but also our powers of conception. Extraordinary claims like the dawn of a new universe might require extraordinary evidence, but what if that evidence has to be literally beyond the ordinary?…whatever it is that dark energy involves, we know it’s not “normal,” either. In that case, maybe this next round of evidence will have to be not only beyond anything we know but also beyond anything we know how to know.”
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Dark Energy / Matter and, Can we Reconcile Quantum Theory with General Relativity?
I don’t very often post links, but I couldn’t pass this one up. The New York Times has recently published an extensive article entitled “Out There” (by Richard Panek) that explores the contemporary condition of cosmological physics and our best understandings of the universe, which – as it turns out – may turn out to be rather misguided. Of course, I am no authority on these matters so I cannot pass judgment. But, you should read this article. Here is a bit of text that I found enticing: