A new theory is challenging ling standing beliefs that the universe we reside in is in fact expanding.
Is it time to rethink the universe we live in? Or better said, should we change long-standing beliefs that the cosmos is expanding? What if the universe’s expansion is no more than an intricate illusion? A groundbreaking theoretical study proposes this startling idea while offering possible solutions to the enigmatic issues of dark energy and matter.
As reported by Live Science, Lucas Lombriser, a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Geneva, introduced this innovative concept in a paper published on June 2 in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.
Is the Universe Really Expanding? The Role of Redshift
We’ve believed the universe is expanding due to the phenomenon of redshift, where the wavelength of light stretches towards the redder end of the spectrum as the light-emitting object moves away from us. Higher redshifts in distant galaxies imply these galaxies are receding further from Earth. In fact, the James Webb Space Telescope found some of the farthest and oldest galaxies to date. It also found some of the most massive.
The Accelerating Universe and the Cosmological Constant
Recent findings indicate the universe’s expansion is not static; it’s accelerating at an increasing rate. This acceleration is captured by a term known as the cosmological constant, or lambda.
The cosmological constant has been a thorn in cosmologists’ side, as the values predicted by particle physics significantly differ from observed values, earning it the title of “the worst prediction in the history of physics.”
A New Perspective on the Universe: Is it Really Expanding?
While many cosmologists attempt to reconcile these conflicting lambda values by suggesting new particles or physical forces, Lombriser takes a different route by reinterpreting existing concepts.
Using a novel mathematical approach, Lombriser presents a flat and static universe, echoing Einstein’s original belief. The indicators we interpret as signs of expansion are instead attributable to the changing masses of particles, such as protons and electrons, over time.
Fluctuating Particle Mass and the Cosmological Constant
In Lombriser’s model, particles originate from a field permeating space-time. This field’s mass determines the cosmological constant, and as the field fluctuates, the masses of the particles it generates fluctuate. Hence, the cosmological constant still varies over time, but this variation stems from the changing particle mass, not the universe’s expansion.
A Solution to the Dark Matter Conundrum?
Lombriser’s fresh framework could also address other vexing issues in cosmology, including the nature of dark matter. This elusive material surpasses ordinary matter particles by a ratio of 5 to 1, yet remains a mystery because it doesn’t interact with light.
Lombriser proposes that the fluctuations in the field could act like an axion field, with axions being one of the suggested candidates for dark matter.
Does This Theory Negate the Need for Dark Energy?
These fluctuations might also eliminate the need for dark energy, the hypothesized force stretching space and pushing galaxies apart at increasing speeds. According to Lombriser, the effects attributed to dark energy could be explained by particle masses evolving differently in the universe’s later stages.
In his model, “there is, in principle, no need for dark energy,” Lombriser added.
A New Interpretation Welcomed, but with Caution
Luz Ángela García, a post-doctoral researcher at the Universidad ECCI, Bogotá, Colombia, praised Lombriser’s new interpretation for addressing multiple problems in cosmology. Nevertheless, García also advised caution, noting that some elements of Lombriser’s theoretical model may not be testable observationally, at least not in the near future.