Video: Nobel Prize Winner Explains The Expanding Universe

Article written: 4 Oct , 2011
Updated: 14 Jan , 2016

In this video Saul Perlmutter, one of the three winners of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, explains how dark energy, which makes up 70 percent of the universe, is causing our universe to expand.

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18 Responses

  1. Anonymous says

    So… since we are a part of the universe and part of the expansion.. are we being stretched out like the light waves?

    • Anonymous says

      No, the expansion of the universe, while happening all around us, is not causing us to expand. This is because gravity compensates for the expansion. This has been observed to be true up to the galactic scale.

      For instance, various geological studies of Earth’s size have shown that Earth’s circumference has remained largely constant throughout its history.

    • Anonymous says

      Generally for something not to be stretched out it has to have some internal force which maintains some localization of that object. This can be the gravity field a star has, or the gravity of an entire galaxy.

      This holds for elementary particles as well. The matter component of the universe has a density ? ~ 1/vol ~ 1/L^3. This is different from radiation which has density ? = ??/vol, but where the frequency ? decreases. We can think of this radiation as being in a box which increases its size and so ? ~ 1/L. Hence the density of radiation is ? ~ 1/L^4. This more rapid drop in the radiation density is why the universe went from being radiation dominated to matter dominated, with the CMB relic of that event. One might then ask why this is not the case for elementary particles, for they too are quantum waves. We might expect the quantum wave to stretch out. This did in fact happen during inflation, but it reached some limit.

      This limit is due to the Compton wavelength of a particle with mass. The Compton wavelength is ? = ?/mc. This represents a scale at which the particle at lowest energy is “rattled” around by the vacuum. This goes by the name zitterbewegung (frantic motion), and it represents a scale at which a particle is confined to. So there is a limit to how much the quantum wave of a particle is stretched out by the expansion of space. This zitterbewegung is a sort of “force” which prevents the particle from being spread out by cosmic expansion.


    • Anonymous says

      Well yes and now.
      Yes, the space between atoms is increasing, however gravitational and EM forces are still strong enough so our atoms do not drift apart.

  2. Wow, young people must be completely brainwashed. One gradaute student says in the video that: “It’s exciting! The strangest part is that (dark energy) is 70% of reality! 70% of the stuff in the universe is this thing that we just do not understand at all!” HELLO? This is worshiping, not scientific investigation. The lack of understanding should be sounding alarm bells, soliciting skepticism, not excitement! What’s wrong with these people? Are they just so eager to become part of the “guild”, that they just ignore their basic instincts?

    Besides, the “standard candle” and “redshift” have both been seriously questioned. So all this nobel prize winning work could be based on major false assumptions.

    “Standard candles” have been found to display variability:

    Redshift has been shown to be (at least sometimes) intrinsic to cosmic objects, not a measure of receding velocities or distance. Halton Arp’s work on redshift spans multiple decades, but is still largely ignored because it questions the whole framework.

    • Anonymous says

      Harp’s work has been proven to be false. His theories on redshift are based on a misinterpretation of outdated observations, and outdated galactic modeling.

      He is famous for suggesting that there were periodicities in the redshift distributions of galaxies and quasars. Close statistical analyses of redshift surveys today seem to indicate that there is no more periodicity than can be accounted for by large-scale structure of the cosmos.He surmised that Quasar apparent brightness was based on Eddington luminosity. His conclusion was that nuclear fusion could not produce the luminosity observed and that quasars were not at the cosmological distances observed by measuring their apparent redshift.

      During the 1990’s, modeling of galaxies and telescopic resolutions improved. It was discovered that quasars were actually super-luminous cores of distant galactic nuclei. galactic disks could be resolved around many of these quasars, which indicate they are not the type of object as suggested by Arp It was also discovered that gravity powered reactions in the accretion disks surrounding the super-massive black hole at the center of these beasts could produce energy at an efficiency greater than nuclear reactions.

      Halton Arp continues to maintain that there are anomalies in his observing of quasars and this serves as his basis to refute cosmological inflation. Arp has made observations of correlations between quasars and (relatively) nearby AGN claiming that clusters of quasars have been observed in alignment around AGN cores. Arp’s models stand in contrast to the accepted models of galaxy formation.

      The problem with Arp’s analysis is that today there are tens of thousands of quasars with known redshifts discovered by various sky surveys. The vast majority of these quasars are not correlated in any way with nearby AGN. Arp’s analysis, according to most scientists, suffers from being based on small number statistics and hunting for peculiar coincidences and odd associations. In a vast universe such as our own, peculiarities and oddities are bound to appear if one looks in enough places. Unbiased samples of sources, taken from numerous galaxy surveys of the sky show none of the proposed ‘irregularities’ nor any statistically significant correlations exist.

      • zetetic elench says

        +HELLO? This is worshiping, not scientific investigation.+

        erm… seems like it could be enthusiastic curiosity.

        It strikes me how easy it is for anyone to interview anybody and present it to everyone now. This makes the ‘gravitas’ of the information the prime criteria.

        Interesting interview on an interesting topic is what I saw.

        Thanks for posting it for us to peruse.

      • Anonymous says

        I second this. Arp’s theory is dead.


    • Good observations Octavian.

    • Torbjörn Larsson says

      No, it is enthusiasm over results of scientific investigation. This is now the accepted standard cosmology, because it has passed numerous tests and meanwhile all contenders like the one you mention has failed.

  3. Anonymous says

    A Pathetic Absurdity

    Nobel 2011 re universe expansion: There is definitely no dark energy or matter. Definitely. This is a pathetic absurdity:

    Neutrino Velocity > Light Velocity?

    I. From
    Alfons Weber:
    OPERA has only measured the average speed of the neutrinos from CERN to Grand Sasso. But there is no reason to assume that the neutrinos became faster or slower on their way. We actually don’t know of any mechanism that could have accelerated or decelerated them on the trip.

    Dov Henis:
    ***If the total arriving neutrinos mass is less than the total starting mass their velocity would accelerate: some of the mass reconverts to energy (Einstein) acting on a decreasing mass (Newton)…

    From “Galaxy Clusters Validate Einstein’s Theory”

    “a classic prediction of general relativity: that light will lose energy as it is escaping a gravitational field. The stronger the field, the greater the energy loss suffered by the light. As a result, photons emitted from the center of a galaxy cluster—a massive object containing thousands of galaxies—should lose more energy than photons coming from the edge of the cluster because gravity is strongest in the center”

    Energy/mass dualism and light, why not and neutrino…

    By the below updated comprehension of gravitation light will lose MASS as it is escaping a gravitational field. The stronger the field, the greater the MASS loss suffered by the light. It is due to the energy/mass dualism that the loss of mass would be loss of energy…

    The universe cycles between two poles: singularity/all-mass , and maximum-expanded/nearly-all-energy.
    E=Total[m(1 + D)] (D = distance travelled by mass since singularity)

    Update definition of gravitation per the above E,m,D relationship. The essence/definition of gravitation is:

    “Gravitation Is the propensity of energy reconversion to mass”.

    What, whence and whither, mass format:

    In the expanding universe the point of formation of the light, or of the neutrinos, of any mass format, is – “as far as the mass format is concerned” – its singularity point. Its motion distance is D. Its m decreases as D increases, maintaining a constant mD = E and therefore accelerating …

    Look Ma! It’s Converting!

    Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)

    Universe expands per Newton’s motion laws, obviously…
    Also, universe physics constants should vary, probably slightly, between galaxies clusters due to varied clusters sizes…
    Also, the clusters formed by dispersion at inflation…

    • Torbjörn Larsson says

      The one has nothing to do with the other. In fact, the OPERA results would make difficulties for the standard cosmology that the Nobel prize led up to. Because it is based on the total success of general relativity on all measurable scales, and the total failure of all other contenders like the ones you mention.

      What is pathetic and absurd is to attack such well tested science.

  4. Torbjörn Larsson says

    I remember this, it was the first time I was skeptical of the scientific consensus. Lot of good it did, after a year I had to accept it. (Since the observation was repeatable.)

  5. Anonymous says

    Novice here with a question. They say the re-acceleration of the universe started about 7 billion years ago. Has anyone researched whether the beginning of this re-acceleration could correspond with when a possible big crunch might have occurred? In other words, was the universe sufficiently expanded that a big crunch was possible 7 billion years ago and the sudden expansion prevented it?

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