December 7, 2021

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What is the cosmological constant?

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The cosmological constant is presumably an enigmatic form of matter or energy that acts in opposition to gravity and is considered by many physicists to be equivalent to dark energy. Nobody really knows what the cosmological constant is exactly, but it is required in cosmological equations in order to reconcile theory with our observations of the universe. 

Who came up with the cosmological constant?

Albert Einstein, the famous German-American physicist, came up with the cosmological constant, which he called the “universal constant,” in 1915 as a means to balance certain calculations in his theory of general relativity. At the time, physicists believed the universe was static — neither expanding nor contracting — but Einstein’s work suggested that gravity would cause it to do one or the other. So, to mesh with the scientific consensus, Einstein inserted a fudge factor, denoted by the Greek letter lambda, into his results, which kept the cosmos still. 

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