Firstly, for all those rock dwellers out there, the Nobel Prize in physics, announced today, went to two groups who, in 1998, turned the world of cosmology upside down. Their discovery subsequently planted a great big question mark in the rest of the world of fundamental physics, for it was the observations made by today's Nobel prize winners that caused the entry into the standard cosmological model of that most mysterious of concepts:
This was great news for cosmology and if the fact that observations of exploding stars can completely change our understanding of the make up of the universe wasn't poetic enough, today also happened to be the day that ESA announced its next wave of big experiments. One of these was Euclid (artist's impression below). The confirmation of Euclid's eventual launch is also great news for cosmology. On the same day that one beautiful cosmological experiment wins the most prestigious prize available to a scientist, another beautiful cosmological experiment is announced.
What is ESA's stated goal for Euclid? Nothing else but:
To understand the nature of dark energy and dark matter by accurate measurement of the accelerated expansion of the Universe through different independent methods.And so, while today the big news headlines were of the Nobel Prize being awarded to the two groups who pointed out an enormous cosmological mystery, it is not outside the realm of possibility that hiding subtly in the news background the experiment that will solve this mystery was also today finally made a certainty.
You couldn't write a better script if you tried.
|An artist's impression of the Euclid satellite|