Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity proved correct at University of Manchester

By Dean Wilkins

Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is being proved correct by a team of cosmologists at the University of Manchester, today.

A new investigation of Einstein’s theory has found it to be right with ‘incredible accuracy’ and is continuing to help scientists understand the universe.

A team of scientists announced at the National Astronomy Meeting, held at the University of Manchester, the most accurate measurement ever made from when the expansion of the universe began to accelerate.

Team member Dr Rita Tojeiro said: “One of the great things about Einstein’s general theory of relativity is that it is testable. Our results support the theory and are fully consistent with the notion that constant vacuum energy, empty space creating a repulsive force, is driving the acceleration of the universe.

“These are profound statements that describe the physics of our universe at the most fundamental level.

“Critically, the results find no evidence that dark energy is simply an illusion stemming from our poor understanding of the laws of gravity – Einstein’s theory has passed its most stringent test yet at extra-galactic scales.”

It means that the phenomenon can be explained using just Einstein’s general theory of relativity and the cosmological constant, which is the simplest theoretical explanation for the acceleration of the universe.

Scientists hope that new light will be shed on dark energy and be used to understand what is causing the rapid expansion.

Cosmologists from the University of Portsmouth and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics examined the period between five and six billion years ago gained results of astonishing accuracy, within 1.7%.

The findings support Einstein’s general theory of relativity which predicts how fast galaxies, separated by large distances, should be moving toward one another and at what rate the structure of the universe should be growing.

Professor Will Percival, head of this team at the university’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, said: “Dark Energy was only discovered 14 years ago, and there’s this feeling that we are still riding the wave of discovery.

“It’s a very exciting time to be a cosmologist.”

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