Dark energy is mutating, with grave consequences for the cosmos

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dark energy artwork

Ricardo Martínez Ortega

A CENTURY ago, the universe was a calm and stable place – at least in the minds of cosmologists. Even as the guns rumbled on the Western Front and the world convulsed in total war, Albert Einstein was putting the finishing touches to his vision of a perfectly balanced cosmos. In a paper he presented to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in February 1917, he added a new ingredient to his freshly baked equations of general relativity – one designed to guarantee that the universe could ride out eternity unchanged.

Today Europe is at peace, but there is uproar in the universe. We have long since abandoned Einstein’s idea of a static, unchanging cosmos in favour of a universe that is not only constantly expanding, but whose expansion is continually accelerating, at the mercies of the mysterious agent called dark energy. No one knows what this dark energy

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