Particles, Astrophysics, and Nuclear Physics Seminar

Dark Matter and Dark Energy -- Fact or Fiction?

Philip Mannheim
Professor of Physics
University of Connecticut

We analyze the nature and origin of the dark matter and dark energy problems and discuss what could be done about them. In particular we show that both of these problems arise solely through the assumption of standard Einstein gravity that Newton's constant is a fundamental constant which sets the scale for gravity at all distances. We discuss an alternate, equally covariant metric theory of gravity (viz. conformal gravity) in which, just like the equally dimensionful Fermi coupling constant of weak interactions, Newton's constant is induced dynamically, with the global induced one which is effective for cosmology being found to be altogether weaker than the local induced one needed for the solar system. We find that in the conformal theory dark matter and dark energy are no longer needed, and that the accelerating universe data can be fitted without fine-tuning using a cosmological constant as large as particle physics suggests. Thus it is not the cosmological constant itself which needs to be quenched but rather only the amount of gravity that it produces. (The talk is based on the speaker's recent "Alternatives to Dark Matter and Dark Energy" astro-ph/0505266.)

Monday, November 14, 2005
2:00 pm
Gant Science Complex
Physics Department
Room P121


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