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Cosmic holes and superstrings

Physicists have struggled for decades to find a grand unified theory. Could superstrings provide an answer?

By Ian Stewart   September 2003

Light from distant galaxies tells us that the universe is expanding-one of the main pieces of evidence that space, time and everything came into existence a little over 12bn years ago in the big bang. In 1998 astronomers, trying to find out whether the expansion will continue forever, or grind to a halt and reverse itself in a big crunch, discovered something much more puzzling. The expansion is speeding up. To explain this baffling acceleration, the cosmologists invented dark energy, a mysterious force that pushes the universe apart.

Does dark energy exist? No one knows. At present nothing known to…

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