Studies of dark energy and dark matter have always been fascinating for scientists around the world. One of the main reasons for this is that there is so little known about them, that the possibilities to discover new and uncovered territories are endless.
These are the objects of a innovative research conducted at the Department of Theoretical Physics and History of Science of the UPV/EHU’s Faculty of Science and Technology. Irene Sandera has long studied the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter, and these have given her the basis for her PhD thesis entitled “Cosmology in an accelerating universe: observations and phenomenology”.
According to Sandera, 5 % of the universe comprises of ordinary matter, 22% is dark matter, and the remaining 73% is dark energy. It is known that dark matter exists due to its gravitational interaction with ordinary matter. The proof for the presence of dark energy is the accelerating expansion of the universe. The latter is what Sandera is trying to find out more about.
The research hypothesizes that dark energy is dynamic over time. By applying different models, Sandera tested and predicted disturbances, corresponding to the values produced by the Lambada-CDM, which explains the acceleration of the universe through a “cosmological constant.”
With the help of mathematics and statistics, the most suitable and closest to the constant values were selected. Although the constant is supposed to be ‘-1’, Sandera has noted that it has appeared to has changed over time. The data, according to the researcher, are consistent with dynamic dark energy. The 2011 Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Adam Riess, is also expected to release a publication on this soon.
Sandera also proposed a new model as part of her PhD work. It unites dark energy and dark matter into a single component.
Sandera’s current research looks into cosmic microwave background and the number and types of neutrons, which prove the existence of the universe. This research is getting closer to the string theory, because the numbers that they have estimated could well be due to primordial gravitational waves, caused by the interaction of cosmic strings.
[Editor’s note: Energy is not and will never be free, but nevertheless yet undiscovered sources of energy surely exist in the universe. Sandera’s work could only be a drop in the ocean of knowledge needed to understand how to harvest the potentially unlimited power, but it’s surely interesting from an alternative energy standpoint. We all know the Sun and its (for us) endless energy – how about moving on to something new?]