T Minus 3 Days - Conference Opening
Monday morning has been scheduled with safe stuff. Roger Blandford will talk about "Origins and Tests of the Standard Model." In his position, he is often forced to repeat the party line. Gary Hinshaw will talk about WMAP results. Ofer Lahav, Lloyd Knox and Bob Nichol will mostly talk about "dark energy."
Subir Sarkar's talk at 12:15 should be interesting. This Oxford physicist is one of the few brave enough to question the existence of DE. His talk will ask "Does WMAP require dark energy?" Roger Penrose of Oxford has implied that WMAP results were analysed fro the perspective of a currently fashinable model.
After lunch Tom Shanks of Durham University will speak on "Problems with the Current Cosmological Paradigm." That is a lot to pack into a 30-minute talk. The hypothesised amount of "dark energy" is extremely close to the amount of other stuff. Quantum field theory says that if DE exists it should be 10^120 times bigger.
The Concorde cosmology puts us in the middle of hypothetical forces--a repulsive "inflaton" causing initial expansion, another repulsive energy causing current acceleration, and our Ptolemaic world in the middle. Cosmologists call this the Nancy Kerrigan problem: Why me? Why now? Given the unwanted attention last week, I can identify with Nancy.