Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eyes On the Nobel Prize

Despite evidence to the contrary, the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics will be shared by 3 scientists who claimed to have discovered an "accelerating universe." They found evidence for acceleration in redshifts of distant Type Ia supernovae. Somehow science seems to have overlooked what a child might ask: what if the universe isn't accelerating but light slows down?

Next they want a Space-based experiment, once called JDEM but now called WFIRST. Such a mission could not launch until at least 7 years after the James Webb Space Telescope, 2025 at the earliest. The cost of WFIRST would be more than 1000 Nobel Prizes. Long before WFIRST or anything like it launches, there will be evidence that light slows. With all the alternatives to an accelerating universe, this prize might be premature.