"Why Dark Energy Is Bad For Astronomy"
That line wasn't written here. Fundamentalist Physics: Why Dark Energy Is Bad For Astronomy is by Simon White of the Max Planck Institute. This essay is recommended, and it contains NO MATH. White is severely critical of "dark energy" and what it has done to science. Already it has drawn comparisons to ether, harmed careers and made physicists look foolish.
"This exposes the community to the danger of designing and carrying out a very expensive experiment to measure many thousand supernovae, or to image a very large area of sky, only to find that the resulting measurement of w is only a modest improvement over previous work because of astrophysical systematics. If the experiment is of limited use for other astrophysical purposes, then the funds will, in effect, have been wasted. A problem for which the astrophysicists will surely be blamed!"
This refers to a Joint Dark Energy Mission, which would search supernovae for the sole purpose of constraining DE. Even if DE existed, JDEM would not return with a single particle of it, or even determine if it was wave or particle. For illustration White uses the Hubble pictures (above) of the Eagle Nebula and Hubble Deep Field. Hubble and JWST are examples of instruments that can address a variety of science, including supernovae. White continues:
"Other Dark Energy projects, for example those searching for supernovae or looking to measure baryonic features in the large-scale galaxy and mass distributions, will not extend previous sensitivity, resolution or wavelength limits. Rather they achieve the required precision by observing much larger areas of sky than has previously been possible. Such surveys may not enable significant progress in other areas of astrophysics."
"This leads to the third, and in my view most serious danger. By accepting the fundamentalist view that Dark Energy is so important that clarifying its nature is the overiding problem for current astrophysics, astrophysicists betray the underlying culture of their field and undermine its attractiveness both to future generations of creative scientists and to the public at large. This is exacerbated by other sociological trends within astrophysics which I now digress briefly to discuss."
JDEM would be attached to NASA's Beyond Einstein Program. This program has been reduced in scope so that only 1-2 missions will go forward, if that. A commitee of the National Research Council has been deciding which missions will go up first. White's argument precisely echoes what yours truly mentioned to the committee in February. A decision is to be announced September 9 by Michael Griffin. From what has been heard at NASA, JDEM advocates should brace for some disappointing news.
"Dark Energy" has also drawn dissent at that other science blog. The mastermind of that blog is a religious DE supporter, when he is not contributing to Yearly Kos. That may have been fun, but in Chicago one can see some real science. One of his woman contributors writes Dude, Where's My Baryons?
"Now, I like dark matter and dark energy as much as the next person. Still, I simply don’t have the temperament to spend the majority of my mental energy on ideas that are so speculative that, while interesting, they’re probably wrong."
The idea of a repulsive "dark energy" has so dominated physics that it threatens to crowd out other promising science. Even if DE existed, it has no conceivable practical use. It would be so diffuse in Space that it could not levitate a fly. It has prevented physicists from seeing what a child could figure out: the Universe isn't accelerating, but light is slowing down.
GM = tc^3. "Dark Energy" has been solved, let us move on. Some may say that it was foolish going to the NRC to say that DE may not exist, but others have been quietly agreeing. As Captain Kirk said, "Every revolution begins with one."
This week Dr. Pamela Gay hosts the new Carnival of Space!