The Universe Didn't Evolve Simply

Question:  Do you think the Universe has evolved in a logical \r\nway? 

Katie Freese:  Wow, I think if we try to write down a \r\nuniverse on a piece of paper that was the most simple and the most \r\nelegant there is a lot of things you wouldn’t find, so if all the way… \r\nall the details intermesh, are very important to for example, allowing \r\npeople to exist and I mean on the biological level I guess this is \r\nobviously that we’re very dependent on respiratory system and all the \r\nrest of it, which is not something that you would just invent again if \r\nyou had a random piece of paper and certainly what we’ve discovered, \r\nthis sort of pie picture of the universe that you have 4% atoms, dark \r\nmatter, which I think is the… That is a solvable problem.  I think we’re\r\n on the edge of solving that one, but then all the sudden this dark \r\nenergy appeared as a complete mystery.  This was on the late 1990s, so I\r\n think I was saying around… In the past 10 years, around the turn of the\r\n millennium it’s really been the golden age for cosmology from the point\r\n of view of data coming in and really affecting our thinking, so this is\r\n a very bizarre, probably illogical thing from our current understanding\r\n of what powers the dark energy, so the thing that we see is that \r\napparently the universe is not only expanding, we’ve known that for a \r\nlong time, but also accelerating.

The way this was originally \r\nfound was by looking at very bright supernovae.  These are the \r\nexplosions of dying stars and these distant supernovae were seen to be \r\nfainter than anybody expected and one interpretation was that they’re \r\naccelerating away from us and at first it wasn’t clear what really was \r\ngoing on, but that is the consensus picture at this point that this… You\r\n have this acceleration driven by this powerful new…  Well this is… it’s\r\n almost like an antigravity, so whereas dark matter makes up galaxies, \r\nit has a normal gravitational interaction, this other stuff has some \r\nkind of negative pressure.  It pushes things apart and it could either \r\nbe a new kind of energy density, a vacuum energy density or it could be \r\ntelling us that our basic equations are wrong and we have to rethink \r\neverything, so this one has people very excited and puzzled and it’s not\r\n going to be answered you know this one will not be answerer tomorrow, \r\nbut it’s a big one and it certainly affects the future evolution of the \r\nuniverse as well, so.

Recorded May 7, 2010
Interviewed by David Hirschman

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