In 1998, Adam Riess and his colleagues discovered dark energy. It was Nobel Prize-winning work that shocked the physics world. In order to understand what dark energy is, why it’s important, and why World Science U‘s Master Class hosted by Adam Riess is the logical next step, we have to take a brief look at the work Einstein was doing nearly a century earlier.
Back in 1917, Einstein introduced what he called the cosmological constant. He needed a way to account for a repulsive force (a push) that would cancel out the force of gravity (a pull). Those two opposing forces, working against each other, would explain the static universe Einstein thought we lived in. History tells us he thought wrong. (Einstein owned up to it later in life, calling it his ‘greatest blunder.’)
Twelve years later, in 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble revealed that the universe is not static. It’s expanding. After 13 billion years, many suspected the expansion of the universe would be slowing down by this point. 70 years later, Riess and his team found that the opposite is true: the expansion of the universe is picking up speed. Dark energy makes up 70 percent of our universe and it’s driving that accelerated expansion.
For a deeper understanding of dark energy, you’ll want to take The Accelerating Universe, the latest free course offered by World Science U. Hosted by Nobel laureate Adam Riess, this course walks students through the discovery of dark energy and explores the big questions scientists are asking in cosmology today. Recorded lectures make up the core of the course materials, but the course also includes the opportunity to interact with Riess himself via a live seminar.
Sign up now and complete this Master Class at your own pace.