Monday, September 17, 2012
In 1998, two teams of astronomers figured something was wrong when they discovered that the formal solution for the standard cosmology models based on supernova distances showed that the Universe had negative mass. Even to an astronomer this seemed suspicious. By adding a cosmological constant term they were able to make a flat universe fit the data. Subsequent supernova work has shown that a simple linear fit to the equation of state introduced by Georges Lemaître in the 1930s is a cosmological constant to a few percent. In the mean time other independent methods using large scale structure, the formation and evolution of galaxy clusters, weak lensing, and acoustic fluctuations in the CMB strongly support this result. In this talk I will give you an insider's view of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, the work on which it is based, and my own ideas for where we are going in the next 10 years.