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Mystery effect speeds up the universe – not dark energy, says study

Russian astrophysicists propose the Casimir Effect causes the universe's expansion to accelerate.

Black hole accretion disk visualization.

Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman
  • Astrophysicists from Russia propose a theory that says dark energy doesn't exist.
  • Instead, the scientists think the Casimir Effect creates repulsion.
  • This effect causes the expansion of the universe to accelerate.


Dark energy, one of the most controversial physics ideas, is getting another challenge. After all, if this force is supposed to make up about 68% of the mass-energy of the universe, where exactly is it? A new paper by a pair of Russian astrophysicists says dark energy simply doesn't exist. Instead, they point to the mysterious Casimir effect as the explanation for the accelerating expansion of the universe.

The study, from Professor Artyom Astashenok and undergraduate student Alexander Teplyakov of the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, takes issue with the fact that as far as dark energy's suggested role, "no one knows what is it and how it works," as remarks Astashenok in a press release.

The astrophysicists say the discovery that the universe is not only expanding, but accelerating in that process, can be explained by an effect named after the Dutch physicist Hendrik Casimir. Back in 1948, he proposed that if you'd put two metal plates in a vacuum, you could still observe attraction between them. Logic would dictate that there'd be nothing in the vacuum to cause such a force, but as Astashenok explained, "according to quantum theory, particles constantly appear and disappear there, and as a result of their interaction with plates, which indicate certain boundaries of space (which is extremely important), a very small attraction occurs."

This phenomenon, now dubbed the Casimir effect, has been extrapolated by the Russian scientists to space. They believe there is no enigmatic "Dark Energy" but a "manifestation of the boundaries of the universe" that is responsible for an additional repulsion that causes the universe to speed up its expansion.

Gravity Should Slow the Expanding Universe, but Dark Energy Is Speeding It ...

Ashashenok further expounds that their idea doesn't claim that the universe has an end. Rather a "complex topology" occurs.

"You can draw an analogy with the Earth. After all, it also has no boundaries, but it is finite," says Astashenok. "The difference between the earth and the universe is that in the first case we are dealing with two-dimensional space, and in the second - with three-dimensional".

Check out the new study in the International Journal of Modern Physics.

Remote learning vs. online instruction: How COVID-19 woke America up to the difference

Educators and administrators must build new supports for faculty and student success in a world where the classroom might become virtual in the blink of an eye.

Credit: Shutterstock
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • If you or someone you know is attending school remotely, you are more than likely learning through emergency remote instruction, which is not the same as online learning, write Rich DeMillo and Steve Harmon.
  • Education institutions must properly define and understand the difference between a course that is designed from inception to be taught in an online format and a course that has been rapidly converted to be offered to remote students.
  • In a future involving more online instruction than any of us ever imagined, it will be crucial to meticulously design factors like learner navigation, interactive recordings, feedback loops, exams and office hours in order to maximize learning potential within the virtual environment.
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Octopus-like creatures inhabit Jupiter’s moon, claims space scientist

A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.

Jupiter's moon Europa has a huge ocean beneath its sheets of ice.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
Surprising Science
  • A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
  • Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
  • The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
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White dwarfs hold key to life in the universe, suggests study

New study shows white dwarf stars create an essential component of life.

White dwarfs.

NASA and H. Richer (University of British Columbia)
Surprising Science
  • White dwarf stars create carbon atoms in the Milky Way galaxy, shows new study.
  • Carbon is an essential component of life.
  • White dwarfs make carbon in their hot insides before the stars die.
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"Forced empathy" is a powerful negotiation tool. Here's how to do it.

Master negotiator Chris Voss breaks down how to get what you want during negotiations.

Juan Carlos Correa (L) , a prospective home buyer is shown a short sale home by Denise Madan, a Real Estate agent with Re/Max, as he shops for a house on April 22, 2014 in Coral Gables, Florida.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Personal Growth
  • Former FBI negotiator Chris Voss explains how forced empathy is a powerful negotiating tactic.
  • The key is starting a sentence with "What" or "How," causing the other person to look at the situation through your eyes.
  • What appears to signal weakness is turned into a strength when using this tactic.
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