Science is a rapidly evolving field — and for the most part, this is by design. Good science needs to be open to change, and to reevaluating predictions and theory based on new knowledge. Sometimes theories hold true, and other times they are so off-base that it’s laughable. Even if a prediction is inaccurate, it’s still worth making; realizing where the science was flawed due to new information helps refine our understanding moving forward. With that said, our theory about “dark energy” has turned out to be the most inaccurate prediction in Physics history.
Astrophysics is an incredibly complex speciality — it turns out that understanding the nuances of our universe is pretty complicated. Technology is continually advancing, and this new access to more capable equipment sometimes calls into question our knowledge about the world around us. The theory behind the mass of dark energy has been challenged, leaving top scientists baffled.
Although dark matter has more public recognition, dark energy makes up far more of our Universe at almost 70% compared to former’s 27. This dark energy is more significant, seeing as it makes up the majority of the universe we live in.
However, despite its scientific importance, dark energy is extremely difficult to measure — namely because it’s (most likely) the energy found in space itself. The energy is thought to be made of virtual particles that actually filter in and out of existence. It’s important to recognize that even the energy from these particles briefly appearing has mass.
When astronomers actually attempted to measure this mass, however, the results were extremely unexpected, calling into question the validity of the widely accepted quantum field theory.
The Most Inaccurate Prediction In Physics History
Our predictions for dark energy were so wildly off-base that it’s actually threatening our basic understanding of physics. The actual observable mass of the energy was roughly 10^?9 joules per cubic meter. This is a small but still relatively significant mass.
The problem with this situation arises when you look at our supposed understanding of quantum field theory, which anticipated the mass of dark energy would be roughly 6 orders of magnitude larger. This suggests that there’s either a physics mechanism we don’t yet understand, or that our understanding of fields is extremely off base. The former is far more likely than the latter, due to the high amount of evidence, explained courtesy of Real Clear Science, that supports current theories.
Although it’s pretty unlikely that our understanding of the universe is completely off base, the most inaccurate prediction in physics history currently has physicists stumped. It’s yet another reminder of how far away we are from a complete picture of what’s actually going on in the universe. As technology gets better, we get closer and closer, but there are still many things that we still don’t understand.