Science and Technology

Indian scientist wins dark energy-related 10-year-old wager

Pune-based theoretical physicist and Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) professor Thanu Padmanabhan has won the decade long challenge he posed to the international community of astrophysicists to prove his ideas on dark energy wrong by 2016.

  • David Wiltshire conceded the wager at the 13th International Symposium on Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics in Sydney.
  • Following the terms and conditions of the wager, Padmanabhan won himself prize money and a lamp that changes colours with the touch of a smartphone, after it was decided one day in 2006.
  • If he won he would buy a lamp of his choice so as to better throw light on his calculations that were unpopular at the time, when cosmologists were still undecided about the role of the cosmological constant.
  • The universe is expanding with an acceleration and the energy that drives this expansion, called the dark energy, is the cosmological constant.
  • He proved that this was the value to the number of atoms of space that can be counted in the universe.
  • Though Wiltshire accepted that a cosmological term may have some relevance, he suggested that the present findings on dark energy might in the future be shown to be an accident by observation, arising from a misinterpretation of gravitational energy which is non-local

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