Thursday, January 10, 2008

We all stood still

A new theory to compete with the dark energy theory: time is slowing down and will eventually stop.
Scientists previously have measured the light from distant exploding stars to show that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. They assumed that these supernovae are spreading apart faster as the universe ages. Physicists also assumed that a kind of anti-gravitational force must be driving the galaxies apart, and started to call this unidentified force "dark energy".

However, to this day no one actually knows what dark energy is, or where it comes from. Professor Jose Senovilla, and his colleagues at the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain, have proposed a mind-bending alternative. They propose that there is no such thing as dark energy at all, and we’re looking at things backwards. Senovilla proposes that we have been fooled into thinking the expansion of the universe is accelerating, when in reality, time itself is slowing down. At an everyday level, the change would not be perceptible. However, it would be obvious from cosmic scale measurements tracking the course of the universe over billions of years. The change would be infinitesimally slow from a human perspective, but in terms of the vast perspective of cosmology, the study of ancient light from suns that shone billions of years ago, it could easily be measured.

The team's proposal, which will be published in the journal Physical Review D, dismisses dark energy as fiction. Instead, Prof Senovilla says, the appearance of acceleration is caused by time itself gradually slowing down, like a clock with a run-down battery.

“We do not say that the expansion of the universe itself is an illusion," he explains. "What we say it may be an illusion is the acceleration of this expansion - that is, the possibility that the expansion is, and has been, increasing its rate."

If time gradually slows "but we naively kept using our equations to derive the changes of the expansion with respect of 'a standard flow of time', then the simple models that we have constructed in our paper show that an "effective accelerated rate of the expansion" takes place."
As fascinating as all this is, I can't help bu think that some researchers would be better off focusing on things that can actually make a difference, instead of stuff like this that ultimately is entirely irrelevant.


  1. It's highly practical. For instance, in ten years, I may be able to sleep in an extra 2 trillionths of a nanosecond. Whoopee!

  2. Why not? This makes slightly more sense than string theory. OK, a lot more sense.

  3. Reminds me of the old one about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.