Open Questions: The Cosmological Constant

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See also: Dark energy -- The vacuum -- Higgs physics

Introduction


Recommended references: Web sites

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Recommended references: Books

Introduction



Recommended references: Web sites

Site indexes

Where can I find more information about cosmology and the cosmological constant?
Fairly short list, including some non-Web references, by Eli Michael.
The Cosmological Constant Links
Short list, mostly dealing with cosmology in general.


Sites with general resources

The Cosmological Constant
A May 2000 NSF "Chautauqua" Course by Joanne Cohn. The site contains a course outline, many references, and other related external links.
The Cosmological Constant
Good set of pages on the subject by Eli Michael. Has good links to other sites.


Surveys, overviews, tutorials

Cosmological constant
Article from Wikipedia.
The Cosmological Constant: Einstein's Fudge Factor
1991 article by Sten Odenwald from Sky and Telescope
What is a Cosmological Constant?
Brief article from the Microwave Anisotropy Probe site.
Living With Lambda
1998 expository paper by J. D. Cohn. "A short pedagogical note about the consequences of a nonzero cosmological constant in physical cosmology."
A New Cosmological Paradigm: the Cosmological Constant and Dark Matter
1998 expository lecture by Lawrence M. Krauss.


Technical papers

Why the cosmological constant is small and positive
May 2006 arXiv paper (astro-ph/0605173) by Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok, using their "cyclic" model of cosmology to explain the small magnitude of Λ.
The Case for a Positive Cosmological Lambda-term
Long technical 1999 paper presenting observational and theoretical aspects of a small positive cosmological constant, by Varin Sahni ahd Alexei Starobinsky.


Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Accelerating the Cosmos
James Glanz
Astronomy, October 1999, pp. 44-51
Observational efforts to measure the Hubble constant now indicate that the speed of expansion of the universe is actually increasing. If so, this implies there is a (non-zero) "cosmological constant" in the equations of general relativity.
The Mystery of the Cosmological Constant
Larry Abbott
Scientific American, May 1998, pp. 106-113
The cosmological constant measures the energy content of the vacuum. Theoretical estimates of the magnitude of the constant, based on the conjectured physics of Higgs fields, are very far in excess of possible values based on observation.
Playing Cosmology's Wild Card
Ken Croswell
Astronomy, April 1997, pp. 57-59
Cosmologists since Einstein have been loath to include a non-zero cosmological constant in the equation of general relativity. But such a constant would imply an increase in the rate of the expansion of the universe, hence an older age than allowed by a constant rate of expansion.


Recommended references: Books

Donald Goldsmith - Einstein's Greatest Blunder? The Cosmological Constant and Other Fudge Factors in the Physics of the Universe
Harvard University Press, 1995
Provides a non-technical description of the cosmological constant and how it is involved in describing the structure and evolution of the universe. Many topics in cosmology such as the age of the universe, its average density and rate of expansion, and dark matter are covered.

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