Albert Einstein's work, published in 1915year describes the nature of gravity and its effect on large objects in space. The general theory of relativity (GR) formed the basis of our understanding of the Universe. However, GRT is not the only explanation for the effect of gravity. Periodically, scientists put forward alternative theories, although it should be noted that none of them is consistent with experimental data to such an extent as the work of Einstein. Recently, a group of scientists from Durham University, UK, published a study in the journal Nature Astronomy, which suggests that one of these alternative theories - known as the “Chameleon theory” - could actually explain how gravity works in some situations.
Chameleon's theory - the fifth fundamental force of the universe?
As the researchers write, “Chameleon’s theory isa class of gravity theories, an alternative to Einstein’s general theory of relativity. ” In this theory, in addition to the standard gravitational force, there is an additional force - the so-called “fifth force”, because it differs from the other four types of fundamental interactions. In some dense regions of the Universe, for example, our solar system, the Chameleon theory cannot be verified, but in regions with low density, additional force can affect the principle of gravity of celestial objects. This behavior of the theory, depending on the environment, gives it the name Chameleon. Moreover, extended modeling on a supercomputer has shown that galaxies can form in the Universe, where the principles of the Chameleon theory are applied.
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Researchers do not exclude that receivedthe results can be significant for understanding phenomena such as black holes and the role they play in galaxy formation, as well as the nature of dark energy - the most mysterious force in the Universe, which is believed to be responsible for accelerating the expansion of the Universe. The general theory of relativity has succeeded in explaining many phenomena and is one of the foundations of modern cosmology. However, the fact that the expansion rate of the Universe is increasing greatly puzzles scientists. In the framework of GR, the expansion rate is determined by the density of matter in the Universe and by taking into account all known types of matter. According to general relativity, this speed should be constantly reduced.
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The accelerated expansion of the universe is one ofthe biggest questions in modern cosmology. In search of an answer, models of dark energy and modified gravity are being actively studied. Chameleon's theory is a popular modified gravity model. Researchers emphasize that their results do not prove that the general theory of relativity is wrong, it just should not be the only way to explain the role of gravity in the evolution of the universe. The next step of the researchers is to verify the results using experimental data in the real world. However, to conduct this study, scientists will have to wait for the discovery of the world's largest Square Kilometer Array radio interferometer, which is scheduled for next year.