atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#248: Hawking, Hoyle, and Dark Matter

I was watching a lot of TV Sunday night.

I watched Battlestar Galactica and The Dresden Files and then found myself watching a docu-drama about Stephen Hawking during the time he was working on his Ph.D.

Hawking's Ph.D. thesis was a demonstration of how the "Big Bang" (so named, apparently, by Hoyle) could have happened. Big Bang theory contravened Hoyle's "Steady State" theorem.

According to Hoyle, the expansion of the universe just happened, and as galaxies moved farther apart, new space, new matter, and new energy were created in the utter void between. Among other things, it seems this satisfied Einstein's cosmological constant; without that, the expansion of the universe was impossible.

Hawking's thesis was a seminal work in cosmology; that and his work on black holes have elevated him to his deserved status as a genius among theoreticians.

But strangely, we have now come full circle, back to Hoyle--but instead of new matter, energy, and space being created, instead the universe is pervaded with energy and matter that we cannot observe. Dark matter supplies the extra gravity needed to hold the galaxies together; and dark energy provides the energy needed to drive the expansion of the universe, making it expand at an accelerating rate against the force of gravity.

If it was wrong when Hoyle suggested it, why is it right now?

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