Dark Energy Explained -- A New Theory

03/11/2013 02:12 pm ET Updated May 11, 2013

Our scientific view of the universe is in a state of upheaval. Just look at the last 89 years:

1. In 1924, Edwin Hubble, using the 100-inch Hooker Telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory, discovers the Andromeda galaxy, a sister galaxy similar to our own Milky Way galaxy. This shatters a long-held belief that the entire universe consists of only the Milky Way. Today, we know our universe contains billions of galaxies.

2. In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovers the universe is expanding. This shatters another widely held belief that the universe is static, not changing. Einstein, in the wake of Hubble's discovery, must discard his "cosmological constant." Einstein arbitrarily introduced the cosmological constant into the equations of general relativity to force them to predict a static universe. Einstein terms the cosmological constant "his greatest blunder."

3. In 1998, three scientists -- Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt, and Adam G. Riess -- measure the rate of expansion, expecting to find that gravity is causing it to slow down. To the scientific world's astonishment, they discover the universe's expansion is accelerating. This shatters the "big crunch" theory, namely that gravity would eventually slow down the expanding universe, and pull everything back together in a big crunch. This discovery results in the three scientists receiving the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The scientific community believes that a strong negative pressure (acting repulsively), "dark energy," is causing the accelerated expansion of the universe. However, the fundamental nature of dark energy remains elusive. To compound the mystery, the galaxies furthest from us are accelerating away the fastest, some even faster than the speed of light.

In October 2012, I published my book, Unraveling the Universe's Mysteries, available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In my book, I put forward a new theory that explains both the fundamental cause of time dilation and accelerating universe. I name the theory "The Existence Equation Conjecture."

What is the Existence Equation Conjecture? It is a mathematical equation I derived using Einstein's special theory of relativity and Minkowski space-time coordinates. It delineates the energy required for a mass to move in the fourth dimension of Minkowski space. Unfortunately, this sounds more like science fiction than science fact. In addition, all the scientific jargon tends to confuse the explanation. Rather than going through the derivation and experimental verification, which are in the appendices of my book, let me just get to the punch line. Here is the Existence Equation Conjecture:

KEX4 = -.3mc2

Where KEX4 is the kinetic energy associated with an object's movement in the fourth dimension of Minkowski space, m is the rest mass of an object, and c is the speed of light in a vacuum.

What does all this mean? The interpretation is speculative. With this caveat, I interpret the equation to imply that a mass requires energy to move in the fourth dimension of Minkowski space. Although, Einstein never called the fourth dimension time, it includes a time component, and I interpret the mass' movement in the fourth dimension to equate to its existence. The equation is dimensionally correct (expressible in units of energy), but highly unusual from two standpoints. First, the kinetic energy is negative, which suggests a mass requires energy to move in the fourth dimension. Second, the amount of negative kinetic energy suggested by the equation is enormous. Although, the equation's roots extend to special relativity, and it correlates well with experimental time dilation data, I termed it a conjecture. It requires further peer review and additional experimental verification.

If the Existence Equation Conjecture actually models the energy a mass needs to exist, how does this explain the accelerating universe? If correct, the amount of energy required for existence is enormous, and it has to come from somewhere. I looked at a number of potential candidates. In the end, I concluded the most likely candidate is the vacuum of space. We know from our experiments with vacuums in the laboratory that vacuums contain energy. An example of this is virtual particle production, which gives rise to the Casimir effect, where two closely spaced electrically neutral plates are pushed together in a vacuum. Although counter intuitive, a laundry list of effects demonstrates vacuums contain energy.

If we think of galaxies as masses, we can postulate to exist they are removing energy from the vacuums that surround them. We know from Einstein's famous mass energy equivalence (E = mc2), that removing energy is equivalent to removing mass. This suggests that as the mass/energy density decreases, the gravitational attraction within the vacuum decreases, which in turn causes the vacuum to expand.

This still leaves two questions:

1. Why are the galaxies furthest from us moving away the fastest? My thoughts: Those galaxies are the oldest. Therefore, they have removed more energy from the vacuums that surround them, causing the vacuums to expand faster than the speed of light. There is no physical law that prohibits space expanding faster than the speed of light.

2. Why doesn't the space inside a galaxy expand? My thoughts: A galaxy contains dark matter, which acts as glue, and allows a galaxy to act like a single mass.

I recognize it is a speculative theory, but it has roots grounded in Einstein's special theory of relativity, Minkowski space-time coordinates, and experimental time dilation data. It fits all the observed data, and it does not violate any physical laws. Please feel free to visit my blog to share your thoughts with me.