A Global Heating

Brian Schmidt, the Australian National University astronomer, is joint winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for a 1998 discovery of the expansion of the universe at an ever-accelerating rate from his observations of supernovae (exploding stars). Half of the more than $ 1.5 million (AUD) prize money went to Professor Schmidt and US scientist Professor Adam Riess.

During the 1990s, the two and a third scientist, Saul Perlmutter, found the light from more than 50 distant exploding stars was much weaker than conventional wisdom would suggest. They concluded that galaxies were racing away from each other at increasing speed, rather than the belief that the universe was expanding but by ever smaller amounts (due to the effects of gravity holding the expansion back); and that this expansion is accelerating suggests that the universe will end in ice.

So what’s driving this acceleration? ‘Dark Energy’ of course. [This term should tell you and I that they have no idea; except to say that it is “inverse gravity”].

But the way I see it, there is always a missing fundamental, particularly in astrophysics if not science as a whole. For if we have learned one thing from Einstein and his General Theory of Relativity it is that you can not truly know something. For at the instant it is known, it is changed.

I do not want to take away from the gentlemen’s prize nor their kudos. Well done to them. But to the suggestion, now, that the universe will ever increase at an increasing rate and freeze over… pffft!

I see it akin to the stock market proverb, where “the trend is your friend”. Yes, the trend is your friend — that is, until it’s not.

So too the universe is expanding, at an accelerating rate… until it’s not.

That’s my perverse logic.

And who’s to say I’m wrong – I mean apart from these scientists and the Nobel Prize judges?

Sources: ABC/AFP/Reuters and Yahoo News

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