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2.20.2004

Einstein's fudge factor receives further experimental confirmation 

Recent measurements from Hubble confirm that the universe is expanding in a manner that's consistent with Einstein's cosmological constant.

For those who aren't familiar with General Relativity, Einstein wrote down an equation that describes how gravity is affected by the presence of mass. Einstein soon realized that these equations would describe a universe that is expanding, and he stuck in a fudge factor that would counteract the expansion of the universe due to a belief that the universe was "unchanging". This fudge factor is called the cosmological constant. Edwin Hubble later discovered that the universe was, in fact expanding, leading Einstein to call the invention of the cosmological constant the biggest blunder he ever made. However, more precise experimental evidence seems that the cosmological factor is needed, though obviously not as large as Einstein would have predicted.

As far as I know, there's no further theoretical explanation for the cosmological constant -- it just exists.

For those of you who are worried that the Mach Five is turning into a science blog, have no fear -- opening day is just a few weeks away. This is The Year.

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