icon Repulsion Force

In September, 1995 ZetaTalk stated that gravity is balanced by a Repulsion Force; scientists learned in March, 1998 that the Universe is expanding due to what they call a repulsion force which Counteracts Gravity.

Tuesday, March 3, 1998
Copyright 1998 The New York Times
Astronomers See a Cosmic Antigravity Force at Work
James Glanz

An international team of astronomers who have used the brightness of distant exploding stars called supernovae to gauge how cosmic expansion has changed over time has reluctantly concluded that space itself appears to be permeated by a repulsive force. Gravity should have gradually slowed the outward rush of cosmic expansion, but as announced at a recent meeting, the dimness of the supernovae - pointing to unexpectedly great distances - implies that cosmic expansion has actually sped up in the billions of years since the stars exploded.

Volume 279, Number 5355, Issue of 27 February 1998, p. 1298
1998 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Cosmic Force May Be Acting Against Gravity
By Kathy Sawyer, Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 27, 1998

The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, according to startling new evidence suggesting that a mysterious antigravity force permeates "empty" space and is counteracting the pull of gravity on a cosmic scale. If the new results hold up, scientists said, they could have enormous ramifications for theories of cosmic evolution, resolving some conflicts and creating new ones as they reverberate through studies of the largest-scale structures in the cosmos and the smallest particles in nature, and the frustrating quest for a "theory of everything" that would unify those fields. Scientists have reacted to the findings with a mix of shock, amazement, horror, excitement and suspended disbelief. The question of the fate of the universe - whether it will expand to infinity, contract in a "cosmic crunch" or flatline somewhere in between - is one of the oldest and most controversial in cosmology.

February 27, 1998
Scientists stunned to learn universe may be accelerating

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Scientists are scratching their heads over a finding that indicates the universe, rather than slowing down, is being expanded by a mysterious force at an accelerating rate. And if the finding is correct, it also supports a concept first proposed by Albert Einstein, who later dismissed it as his biggest blunder. "It is such a strange result we are still wondering if there is some other sneaky little effect climbing in there," says Adam Riess, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley. Riess said he, Kirshner and others in the 15-member international team that made the discovery "have looked hard for errors" but found none.

Parallel study confirms finding.

Rocky Kolb, a University of Chicago astronomer, said in Science that the finding is so startling, "I think everyone should reserve judgment." Kirshner said the conclusion will go through an intensive review before the results are accepted, although he noted that preliminary results from a parallel study by another astronomy group are in agreement. "We are scratching our heads to think if there could be an alternative explanation for it," says Riess, "something more mundane than a repulsive force." It is being called a repulsive force because it seems to be working against gravity to speed up the expansion of the universe. "If it's confirmed by other results and other approaches, it's going to tell us there is something important, another constituent to the universe," says Kirshner.

A fifth force at work?

Unlike matter, which slows down as it moves through space, the new force - if the researchers are correct - moves faster. Four forces are accepted by modern physics: the strong force, which holds the nucleus of an atom together; the weak force, which causes atomic decay; electromagnetic force, which holds electrons in orbit in an atom; and gravity. Kirshner says a fifth force could be at work. The idea of a fifth force has been speculated about by physicists, he says. Over short distances, said Riess, this repulsive force can't be detected, but over distances of 7 billion to 10 billion light-years, "this force becomes something to reckon with, and is strong enough to overcome gravity and cause the universe to accelerate." Riess said he isn't surprised that the force hasn't been detected before. "The force is very weak on a small scale and it only becomes important when you are looking back," he said. "It's like a lot of little ants - one is weak but a lot of them can lift a big weight."

Correspondent Ann Kellan, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.