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Investigating dark energy

EU cosmologists are developing tests for the mysterious dark energy that makes up most of the cosmos. This knowledge could help to further our understanding of the nature of the

Energy

Until the 1990s, in the field of cosmology, it was considered that the Universe had always been expanding but that gravity would eventually slow it down. Subsequently, new research indicated that, in fact, the expansion of the Universe had not been slowing but rather was accelerating. Researchers deduced that there must be something else that was filling up the vast reaches of space to account for the accelerating expansion. Cosmologists came up with a solution: they called it dark energy, the exact nature of which still remains a mystery. The 'Baryonic acoustic oscillations as a robust probe for dark energy' (BAO AND DARK ENERGY) project, funded by the EU, has set out to improve our understanding of this mysterious phenomenon. It seeks to find ways to constrain the cosmological model — the 'big bang' model. In particular, the project aims to improve the understanding and modelling of large-scale galaxy clustering so that it can develop tests for the cosmological model and in particular for dark energy. Another project objective is the development of new analytic tools capable of accurately interpreting data on galaxy clustering. BAO AND DARK ENERGY has made a number of advances so far, all of which have been published in the scientific literature. The analytic and computational tools that are currently being developed in the project have the potential for important consequences in other areas of research plus applications in industry. Work is continuing in the project to understand the origins and evolution of the Universe. Such research should enrich scientific knowledge and potentially lead the way to important new breakthroughs in fundamental physics.

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