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Wait, what if dark energy doesn’t matter?

The horror! A few days ago, in a study released in one of my favorite light reading mags, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, two mathematicians proposed that dark energy might simply be an illusion we observe from our spot in a massive space-time expansion wave. There’s a nice writeup of the research in National Geographic here.

darkmatter1Does this mean the entire concept of this website, that brand, culture, and community form the dark matter and dark energy of organizations, breaks down too? That all this hippie brand-building, culture-growing, community-creating stuff is also an illusion, and the traditional visible mechanics of business alone are the stuff of which great companies are made?

I know. I know. It rocked my foundation too. Well, as my favorite fortune cookie fortune once told me, “all is not yet lost.” It is just a theory.

And it turns out that for the theory to be true, for the math to work, we must be at the center of the universe, a caveat that one physicist describes as “unusual.” I’d say so. Didn’t Copernicus have something to say about that in, like, 1543?

If you are still concerned and want to learn more, go read the abstract of the report. I’ll give you a taste to whet your appetite:

We derive a system of three coupled equations that implicitly defines a continuous one-parameter family of expanding wave solutions of the Einstein equations, such that the Friedmann universe associated with the pure radiation phase of the Standard Model of Cosmology is embedded as a single point in this family. By approximating solutions near the center to leading order in the Hubble length, the family reduces to an explicit one-parameter family of expanding spacetimes, given in closed form, that represents a perturbation of the Standard Model.

These guys seem pretty smart, and it sounds like we stand to learn a lot from their findings. And what’s good enough for the National Academy of Sciences is good enough for me.

As for our little Dark Matter Matters website, I’m no mathematician, but I see a lot of prominent mathematicians and physicists calling these results controversial. For now, I’m still thinking dark matter and dark energy might matter, people. Carry on.

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