These snapshots above are just a few of the thousands of images from the Hubble Space Telescope in recent years. More importantly though, it has also shown us that the Universe is expanding at an accelerating pace. This has given rise to expanding theories about what almost 2/3rds of the Universe seems to be made up of..."Dark Energy" ("Dark Matter" is the subject of a previous post on this blog) Now I prefer to call it "Mysterious Energy" because we don't really know what it is. We have called it "dark" because we can't really see it, just its affects. This alone is prompting the thrill of another major discovery in the field of Astro Physics. A few years ago it was Quatum Physics to explain some anomilies in the Einstein's Theory of Relativity. This has produced computers, medical devices, cell phones, cameras, ipods and every modern electronic device. What will the mystery of "dark energy" reveal and who will discover it, harness it, use it for the future of mankind?
My money is on some...Female Science Professor. Yes, a woman of mystery. It may even be Prof. Meg Urry, soon to be chair of the Department of Physics at Yale. She is a renowned researcher in the area of massive black holes. She may even be writing that blog I check into daily www.femalescienceprofessor.blogspot.com Well, she's not anonymous anymore if she wrote the lead article in this Sunday's Parade Magazine. She goes on to trace the history of Big Ideas that have transformed our thinking about the Universe. She thinks we are due since Niels Bohr's explanation of the Universe at the atomic level with his "quatum mechanics". What excites her personally is how the discovery of "Mysterious Energy" (Dark) illustrates that science is not a set of beliefs that one constructs. Instead, scientists observe nature, then develop theories that describe their observations. Science is driven by nature itself, and nature gives us no choice. It is what it is.
Contrast that to the recent announcement in the news of a new museum in Petersburg, Ky that displays God's Creation in 6 days with dinosaurs munching grass next to Adam and Eve. Yes, believe it or not, scientist? are behind this too. I wonder how many are anonymous female science professors? Maybe it would be better if they stayed anonymous.
Space satellites and ground based telescopes are already being proposed by NASA, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation to probe this mysterious energy and further develop theories from their observations. If they observe a weakening of mysterious force, gravity (a la Einstein) could take over again and pull the Universe back together. This is already referred to by scientists as the "Big Crunch" (I wouldn't want to be around for that...and won't) If Dark Energy gets stronger with time it may eventually pull apart the galaxies (you see in snaps above here) now held together by gravity and that, they are calling "The Big Rip" (doesn't sound so good either) Or the Universe could have an intermediate fate, expanding gradually to a vast, cold, empty place called "The Big Chill" (I've already experienced that a few times, being married) The truth is out there as they say and, I predict that will be discoverd by some smart, young, female students taking high school physics right now. I doubt that they'll be wearing birkas, or from Petersburg, Ky...but you never know. Bob!