Then, a few weeks before Christmas, an Oxford University astrophysicist sent the geek website into madness – and triggered a Twitter storm among fellow scientists – by publishing a new radical model of the universe.
In a paper published by the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, Dr. Jamie Farnes removes dark matter and dark energy as separate wild animals. Instead he theoretically combines them into one entity, a strange "dark liquid" that has a type of "negative gravity". Meaning: if you push it away, it will accelerate towards you.
Dr. Farnes said the liquid could maintain the balance of the universe, serving what Einstein called the "cosmological constant" 100 years ago, when he proposed a similar idea in his theory of general relativity.
Einstein's idea, which he later rejected as his "biggest mistake," was that space – what we consider to be emptiness – produces its own energy.
As explained by NASA: "Because this energy is a property of space itself, it won't dilute when space expands. When more space appears, more space energy will emerge."
As a result, Einstein has taken the first view of what we call dark energy – a concept made by contemporary physicists to explain why the universe expands at a faster speed than when it first hatched.
When the universe expands, according to Jamie Farnes's theory, more dark liquid bubbles are present, further separating them.
He also claims to have developed the "first true prediction" of the halos of dark matter that unite galaxies … because most galaxies spin so fast that they have to separate themselves.
New theories about the dark universe are routinely published without the kind of media attention that Farnes's theory enjoyed. There was a quick backlash from other astrophysicists who felt that Dr. Farnes was too confident with his statement, especially in the part he wrote to Conversation.
Some have hit Dr Farnes's science, others say his theory is worth talking about. And it's good to remember that Einstein's ideas and many others were controversial when first published, a point made by Dr. Farnes in the last few days before withdrawing from public argument.
The new generation telescope that is being built might soon prove Dr. Farnes is right … or not.