The Weight of the Vacuum: A Scientific History of Dark Energy
The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery of cosmic acceleration due to dark energy, a discovery that is all the more perplexing as nobody knows what dark energy actually is. We put the modern concept of cosmological vacuum energy into historical context and show how it grew out of disparate roots in quantum mechanics (zero-point energy) and relativity theory (the cosmological constant, Einstein's “greatest blunder”). These two influences have remained strangely aloof and still co-exist in an uneasy alliance that is at the heart of the greatest crisis in theoretical physics, the cosmological-constant problem.
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2 The Active Ether
3 Plancks Second Quantum Theory
4 HalfQuanta and ZeroPoint Energy
5 Nernsts Cosmic QuantumEther
6 The Hamburg Connection
7 The Cosmological Constant
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accelerating universe argument Aristotle’s Astron Astrophys atoms Bohr Bronstein Casimir effect cosmic microwave background cosmological constant cosmological term cosmological-constant problem cosmologists dark energy early universe Ehrenfest electrodynamics electromagnetic field electron empty space energy density ether evolution field equations flat fluctuations galaxies Gliner gravitational H. S. Kragh Heisenberg high-redshift Hubble expansion hydrogen hypothesis idea implied infinite inflation inflationary J. M. Overduin JETP Kragh and J. M. later Lemaître Lenz Lett Linde Mehra molecules negative pressure Nernst observations oscillator paper parameter particles Pauli Peebles Phys physicists Planck Planck’s second quantized quantum field theory quantum mechanics quantum theory quasars quintessence Rechenberg redshift relativity rotational Sahni scalar field spontaneous symmetry breaking SpringerBriefs in Physics suggested supernovae temperature tensor theoretical Type Ia supernovae University Press vacuum energy vacuum energy density vacuum-like void Walther Nernst Weinberg Wiechert Zeitschrift Zel’dovich zero zero-point energy zero-point radiation