Einstein le réaliste

OXFORD – On a récemment découvert que l’expansion de l’univers s’accélère plutôt qu’elle ne ralentit, ainsi que l’on avait coutume de le penser. La lumière en provenance de l’explosion d’étoiles lointaines a révélé qu’une force inconnue (appelée énergie sombre ou noire) est plus importante que la gravité à l’échelle cosmologique.

Une telle force, bien qu’inattendue pour les chercheurs, avait néanmoins été prévue en 1915 par une modification qu’Albert Einstein avait appliquée à sa propre théorie de la gravité, la théorie générale de la relativité. Mais il a ultérieurement abandonné cette modification, connue sous le nom de « constante cosmologique, » la qualifiant « d’erreur la plus patente » de sa vie.

Les gros titres des journaux affichent donc : « Einstein avait finalement raison, » comme si les scientifiques étaient des voyants : une personne qui se distingue du commun des mortels par sa connaissance de l’inconnaissable – comme des résultats d’expérimentations qui n’auraient pas encore été conçues, encore moins menées ? Donc qui, a posteriori, a correctement prophétisé ?

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