(PhysOrg.com) -- When scientists discovered in 1998 that the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, the possibility that dark energy could explain the observation was intriguing. But because there has been little progress in figuring out exactly what dark energy is, the idea has since become more of a problem than a solution for some scientists. One physicist, Massimo Villata of the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) in Pino Torinese, Italy, describes dark energy as “embarrassing,” saying that the concept is an ad hoc element to standard cosmology and is devoid of any physical meaning. Villata is one of many scientists who are looking for new explanations of the Universe’s accelerating expansion that involve some form of repulsive gravity. In this case, the repulsive gravity could stem from antimatter hiding in voids.
(PhysOrg.com) -- During the past few years, CERN physicist Dragan Hajdukovic has been investigating what he thinks may be a widely overlooked part of the cosmos: the quantum vacuum. He suggests that the quantum vacuum has a gravitational charge stemming from the gravitational repulsion of virtual particles and antiparticles. Previously, he has theoretically shown that this repulsive gravity can explain several observations, including effects usually attributed to dark matter. Additionally, this additional gravity suggests that we live in a cyclic Universe (with no Big Bang) and may provide insight into the nature of black holes and an estimate of the neutrino mass. In his most recent paper, published in Astrophysics and Space Science, he shows that the quantum vacuum could explain one more observation: the Universe’s accelerating expansion, without the need for dark energy.