Dark Energy: is it ‘just’ Einstein’s Cosmological Constant Λ?

Ofer Lahav
The Cosmological Constant Lambda, a concept introduced by Einstein in 1917, has been with us ever since in different variants and incarnations, including the broader concept of Dark Energy. Current observations are consistent with a value of Lambda corresponding to about present-epoch 70% of the critical density of the Universe. This is causing the speeding up (acceleration) of the expansion of the Universe over the past 6 billion years, a discovery recognised by the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. Coupled with the flatness of the Universe and the amount of 30% matter (5% baryonic and 25% Cold Dark Matter), this forms the so-called Lambda-CDM standard model, which has survived many observational tests over about 30 years. However, there are currently indications of inconsistencies (`tensions’ ) within Lambda-CDM on different values of the Hubble Constant and the clumpiness factor. Also, time variation of Dark Energy and slight deviations from General Relativity are not ruled out yet. Several grand projects are underway to test Lambda-CDM further and to estimate the cosmological parameters to sub-percent level. If Lambda-CDM will remain the standard model, then the ball is back in the theoreticians’ court, to explain the physical meaning of Lambda. Is Lambda an alteration to the geometry of the Universe, or the energy of the vacuum? Or maybe it is something different, that manifests a yet unknown higher-level theory?

read more at https://arxiv.org/abs/2009.10177

Click to access 2009.10177.pdf

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