American and Chinese mathematicians propose a new unified theory on dark matter and dark energy, which changes some of the most basic tenets of Albert Einstein's field equations for gravity.
The most important hypothesis the study contains is that the law of energy and momentum conservation, as understood and supported by Einstein and others, are only maintained in the Universe when baryonic matter, dark matter and dark energy are taken into account together.
The main implication of this idea is that equations dealing with baryonic (normal) matter exclusively cannot be handled by the principles of energy and momentum conservation. This proposal has extremely widespread implications for the field of physics.
The theory was developed by Tian Ma, a professor at the Sichuan University, in China, and Shouhong Wang, a mathematics professor at the Indiana University
(IU) College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Mathematics.
According to the two, the curved arrangement of spacetime that Einstein proposes still stands, but new field equations need to be developed that account for the energy created by the non-uniform distribution of matter in space.
Dark matter and dark energy together account for more than 95 percent of the Universe's mass-energy budget, so deriving field equations without taking this fact into account is short-sighted. The new form of energy the team proposes can take both negative and positive values, ensuring conservation.
“Many people have come up with different theories for dark energy. Unfortunately, the mystery remains, and in fact, the nature of dark energy is now perhaps the most profound mystery in cosmology and astrophysics. It is considered the most outstanding problem in theoretical physics,” Wang explains.
“The other great mystery concerning our Universe is that it contains much more matter than can be accounted for in our visible stars. The missing mass is termed as dark matter, and despite many attempts at detecting dark matter, the mystery remains and even deepens,” he goes on to say.
“Most importantly, this new energy and the new field equations offer a unified theory for both dark energy and dark matter, which until now have been considered as two totally different beasts sharing only 'dark' in name,” Wang explains.
A study detailing the findings can be read in full, here
The work was sponsored by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Naval Research.