Introduction
Discovery
Confirmation
Dark Energy vs. Dark Matter
What is Dark Energy?
Vacuum Energy
New Physics
Flawed Gravity
How Can We Find It?

Flawed Gravity, or Relaxing the Grip

For almost a century, Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity has reigned as the explanation for how gravity works. Einstein’s equations showed that gravity is a property of matter, and that matter "warps" the space-time around it.

flawed gravity illustration

If Einstein's theory of gravity is incorrect, then gravity may not maintain as strong a grip over long cosmic distances. [Tim Jones]

Yet there are both problems with General Relativity and questions about its effects.

"Perhaps we see the acceleration of the universe and we attribute that to energy, but maybe our theory of gravity is still incomplete, so we don’t need extra energy, we just need to modify our theory."
Eiichiro Komatsu,
University of Texas at Austin

Relativity applies to the universe on large scales, but not on the smallest scales, where quantum gravity takes over. Relativity also breaks down in the presence of the strongest gravitational fields, like those at the center of a black hole.

All the experiments to date have confirmed General Relativity’s effects on large scales, but scientists still aren’t certain whether gravity has remained constant since the Big Bang, whether it acts the same in all regions of the universe, and whether it retains its grip on the very largest scales.

It’s possible that gravity weakens on the largest scales – across billions of light-years – and thereby allowing the universe to expand at a faster rate as it grows larger.

New Physics, or Particles and Fields