Tuesday, 27 March 2018


Prior to 1917, it was generally accepted that the Universe was in the big picture at least in a static state, infinite in both time and space and ageless until Albert Einstein equations governing General Relativity imitated that the Universe was expanding. To preserve the appearance of an eternal Universe that would not either collapse under its own weight or keep on growing more and more rarefied forever, Einstein fiddled with his own math a bit by inserting a cosmological constant to compensate.
Designated by the Greek letter lambda (before it came to symbolise wavelength), it would counteract the attractive force of gravity to avoid a Big Crunch before the idea of a Big Bang was proposed. The paradigm shifted a decade later with the proofs of astronomer and priest (whom one would think to be partial to a static-state) from Leuven called Georges Lemaître that showed that the Universe was expanding—two years prior to Edwin Hubble’s observational evidence with the red-shift. Einstein recanted and went on to nominate Lemaître for a prestigious science prize. Father Lemaître passed away in 1966, shortly after the detection of cosmic background radiation, the afterglow of the Big Bang, which reaffirmed his conjecture that the Universe was not ageless. Elegant as they were, the mathematics formulae did not quite dispense with the fact that the Universe was not as disperse as it ought to be and another contrivance like the cosmological constant or epicycles before had to be invoked or inveigled in order to account for the rate of expansion: dark energy.