Humans consider themselves as an intelligent species. But we don’t know what 95
THE AGE OF THE UNIVERSE
Astronomers had felt pretty confident that they knew the age of the Universe. Derived from measuring exploding stars across the length and breadth of it, the figure they had settled on was 13.7 billion years. This work had been honed over decades. So it came as something of a shock when the Planck telescope showed that the Universe is more likely to be 13.8 billion years old. “It’s slightly surprising, but I think that every time you measure more precisely you should expect the central value to move a little,” says Dr. Rose Lerner, of the University of Helsinki, Finland.
NATURE OF THE DARK ENERGY
It is the biggest conundrum facing modern physics. Observations say that dark energy makes up about two – thirds of the contents of the Universe
THE DRIVER OF INFLATION
No one can find a solution to what sparked inflation-the extremely rapid growth of the Universe that took place after the Big Bang. Scientists would like to find an answer in particle physics. However, this is difficult because the sudden expansion of the early Universe took place at vastly larger energy levels that can be achieved in a particle accelerator such as the LHC, the most powerful ever built. The hypothetical particle responsible is called ‘inflation’. Some