Further to “Maybe the universe is not the same everywhere we look?”, New Scientist riffs again on the theme that maybe the solution to our problems is that the universe is not equally proportioned everywhere we look:
Some cosmologists suspect this to be an oversimplification that has caused our theories to diverge from observations, with the result that we have had to conjure up spectres such as dark matter and dark energy to bring them back together again. This is still a minority view, but one worth exploring. While it is a radical departure from the cosmological thinking of the past century, it is also in some ways an elegant solution. That’s because the view that the cosmos is not uniform allows us to advance our understanding without invoking ever more entities or jeopardising general relativity – whose own beauty has also gone unslain by ugly fact for a century.
Might other branches of physics be better off if they abandoned aestheticism? The standard model of particle physics, peerlessly precise though its predictions might be, is often criticised for its lack of a unifying scheme: it is a hotchpotch of theories that has proved supremely successful at describing how the universe’s building blocks behave but not necessarily why they behave the way they do. Numerous attempts have been made to unify and expand it within more elegant schemes. So far, however, nature has been disinclined to reward scientists with hard evidence.
Murphy, the ultimate engineer, explained it all, to save these people the trouble, but they did not listen: “Mother Nature is a bitch.”
Eventually, it will make sense anyhow. See also: The iron ring.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).
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