British theoretical physicists have developed a theory that can solve one of the biggest mysteries in the universe: why the expansion rate of our universe is accelerating rather than slowing down, as the laws of physics predicted by us. According to an article published on futurism.com, the hypothesis of “massive gravity” can modify Einstein’s general theory of relativity, while also explaining the inequality of the expansion rates of the Universe.
Why is the universe expanding?
At present, the hypothesis of the Big Bang is considered the main explanation of exactly how our universe appeared, as a result of which all the particles we know that make up not only the space around us, but ourselves, flew from one single point, thereby giving rise to the familiar to us The universe. According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the gravitational forces of all objects of our universe should gradually attract the Universe, slowing down the speed of its expansion.
However, back in 1998, scientists realized that the rate of expansion of the universe is not only not slowing down, but even accelerating. Due to the fact that the researchers had no idea about the processes that provoke such behavior of the universe, it was decided to introduce the concept of dark energy, which could at least somehow explain the problem of the expansion of the Universe. Despite the fact that modern physics requires the existence of this type of energy, it is not possible to prove its reality. So, even if it exists, energy should radically differ from all other matter in the Universe, due to its antigravity properties, as well as negative pressure. For a long time, it was believed that the well-known vacuum can claim the title of dark energy, but so far there have not been enough experiments to confirm such an unusual hypothesis.
The new idea, called de Rham’s theory of massive gravity, eliminates the need for dark energy in the universe, introducing changes to Einstein’s general theory of relativity. So, instead of the massless gravitons from the theory of relativity responsible for gravity, the new theory assumes the presence of another type of hypothetical particles in the Universe, but with the presence of a certain mass. In other words, gravity in the new physical model can fulfill the role currently attributed to that very dark energy.
Researchers hope that advances in gravitational wave astronomy will test predictions about the theory of massive gravity over the next decade. This historical moment can not only give mankind an opportunity for a better understanding of the fundamental issues of the Universe, but also reveal the secret to the reality of the existence of dark matter and energy, which for a long time haunted researchers of the 20th and 21st centuries.