Dark energy may be the most compelling problem in modern cosmology. An unexplained substance, it’s believed to be the driving force behind cosmic acceleration. And yet there is no consensus on what dark energy actually is. The answer could have profound implications for our understanding of the fundamental laws of physics. This discussion focused on three cutting-edge studies of dark energy, each using radically different techniques. Adam Riess, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for the discovery of dark energy, shared a new technique that attempts to more accurately measure the expansion rate of the universe. Priya Natarajan of Yale explained how dark matter can be used to explore dark energy. And Dark Energy Survey director Joshua Frieman delivered the very latest from his five-year study.
The World Science Festival’s annual salon series offers in-depth conversations with leading scientists, extending the discussion of the Festival’s premier public programs to graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and well-informed members of the general public.
The Big Ideas series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.
Photograph: Jon Smith